The family of 12-year-old Waleed Abushaaban is demanding that a teacher at his First Colony Middle School in Houston be fired after she allegedly called the young boy a "terrorist" in front of his class.
According to Waleed, who spoke to KHOU, he was watching Bend It Like Beckham in class, and when he laughed, the teacher said, "I wouldn't be laughing if I was you." When Waleed asked why, the teacher responded, "Because we all think you're a terrorist."
Watch Waleed recount the incident here:
Waleed said that students joined in on the abuse after the teacher made her comment, saying things like, "Oh, I see a bomb." He goes on to describe the bullying, saying, "I was upset and I felt like I was put in the corner and, like, everybody was just looking at me."
The teacher has not been named but has been removed from the classroom while school officials investigate. Local activist Quanell X agreed with Waleed's family that the teacher should be removed permanently, saying, "No religioun should be targeted by and disrespected by any administrator on any school campus."
Waleed's family has said that they plan on keeping their son enrolled at First Colony, and in addition to having the teacher fired, would like to see religious sensitivity training for both students and teachers going forward.
"Just because my son is a Muslim doesn't mean he is a terrorist," Waleed's father, Malek Abushaaban, told KHOU. "He's an American. He's as American as anybody else. He was born here... that's all he knows is how to be American."
The Fort Bend ISD school district released a statement regarding the incident that says they do not support the teacher's actions: "While the teacher reports her statements were made in the context of trying to make a point about negative stereotypes, District officials do not believe that the teacher exercised the appropriate sensitivity expected of the District's educators, and do not believe that the statements were made in a manner that is in keeping with the District's Core Beliefs and Commitments."
(Photo: KHOU 11, Houston Local News)