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Parents claim Cypress Bay High School teacher called teen 'rag-head Taliban'

Father wants teacher fired for remark

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FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. – The parents of a Muslim student at a South Florida high school are upset with a teacher who they said called their son a "rag-head Taliban."

Deyab-Houssein Wardani, 14, told his parents that Cypress Bay High School teacher Maria Valdes called him that when he came to French class Feb. 2 wearing a hooded sweatshirt.

"I was extremely disappointed that she would do something like that to me, and I was also sad that people still, to this day, think like that," Wardani told Local 10 News.

Now his parents want Valdes fired for her remark. They created a Facebook page that has more than 300 likes.

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Youssef Wardani complained to the school, but he said the principal offered him a half-hearted apology. He said she was "shrugging and rolling her eyes."

During Tuesday's school board meeting, Broward County Public Schools Superintendent Robert Runcie told the family that he is taking the alleged incident "seriously."

The Council on American-Islamic Relations vows it will pursue legal action against the school district if it doesn't send a clear message that intolerance won't be tolerated in Broward County schools.

"It's unacceptable," CAIR spokesman Nezar Hamze told Local 10. "Who's responsible for the safety and security of our children? The teachers are supposed to respect, nurture and educate, from an academic perspective, our children, not call them terrorists."

The school board will likely make a recommendation to suspend Valdes at its March 17 meeting.

For now, Valdes remains in the classroom. Local 10 News sent Valdes an email seeking comment, but so far there has been no reply.

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