A math teacher in Texas has been suspended amid accusations he made a Muslim pupil cry by mocking her over Osama bin Laden’s death.
In front of the entire class, he allegedly said, ‘I bet you’re grieving’, and when she questioned what he meant, he said ‘I heard about your uncle’s death’.
The ninth-grade girl burst into tears, but according to a classmate’s mother the teacher just smirked and walked away.
School: Insensitive remarks: A teacher has been suspended for allegedly telling a Muslim girl she must be ‘grieving’ over the death of Osama Bin Laden
Neither the teacher nor the pupil at Clear Brook High School, Friendswood, have been named.
School authorities immediately placed the teacher on administrative leave and quickly moved to distance themselves from his comments with an official statement.
The incident is said to have happened in an algebra class on Monday, the day after President Obama announced the Al Qaeda leader had been killed, and involved an American-born girl who practises the Muslim faith.
The mother of one of the girl’s friends, who does not wish to be identified for fear of retaliation against her daughter, told ABC 13: ‘The teacher told he student that “I bet you’re grieving”.
‘And she basically looked at him and said what are you talking about? And he said “I heard about your uncle’s death.
‘And she said, wow, because she understood that he was referring to Osama bin Laden being killed and was racially profiling her.’
He walked away and the young girl burst into tears, according to the woman.
She said: ‘The teacher asked her why she was crying and another student said it was because of what he said earlier.
‘And his response was oh, ok, and he just kind of smirked and giggled and walked away.’
The Clear Creek Independent School District put the teacher on administrative leave straight after the girl reported the incident.
In a statement, the district’s public information director Elaina Polsen said: ‘We believe diversity strengthens our community and seek opportunities to celebrate the different cultures within our schools and neighbourhoods.
‘The sentiments allegedly shared by this teacher are not reflective of the staff at Clear Brook High School or anyone within the Clear Creek Independent School District.
‘In accordance with CCISD policy, the teacher has been placed on administrative leave pending the outcome of a personnel investigation.’
She said the student did ‘the right thing’ by speaking out, and the school’s principal had been in contact with her family.
Later the girl texted her friend to thank her for speaking out on her behalf. She wrote: ‘Make it a lesson learned about how the world is going through stuff and he needs to watch what he says and so do others because Osama does not represent the wholeMuslim faith.’
Dr Aziz Siddiqui, of the Islamic Society of Greater Houston, said he was sure it was just an isolated incident.
He told ABC 13: ‘A lot of people are ignorant in the world, and so you just have to ignore them.