FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. – A protest was held Wednesday outside a Broward County school board meeting as the family of a student who claims his Cypress Bay High School teacher called him a "rag-head Taliban" is calling for her termination.
Protesters held signs that read, "Restorative Justice Now" and "Respect Our Children."
Deyab-Houssein Wardani, 14, told his parents that his teacher Maria Valdes called him a rag-head Taliban when he came to French class earlier this month 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.
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 last week's school board meeting, Broward County Public Schools Superintendent Robert Runcie told the family that he is taking the alleged incident "seriously."
"We are protesting, as a first step, to send a firm message that hate speech against Muslim students or any student should not be tolerated," said Muhammed Malik, a South Florida human rights advocate. "We urge Broward County school board to take appropriate disciplinary action and we urge the board to better fund, expand implementation of and prioritize restorative justice mechanisms to make progress in ensuring safe and productive learning environments for all. There is a better way to handle things, its restorative justice -- good for students, teachers, parents, administrators and the community-at-large."
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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