An assistant teacher in the Ridgefield School District of New Jersey has been suspended after a Muslim student got offended that he said “we don’t negotiate with terrorists.”
Mohammed Zubi, 17, a senior at Ridgefield Memorial High School, went on CNN to discuss his offense with the joke that people have been making about bratty children for years.
Now, the school district has contacted police and “fully intends to pursue any and all legal remedies against the staff member.”
Zubi claimed that he had raised his hand during his math class last week to ask for additional time and the unidentified teacher’s assistant replied, “We don’t negotiate with terrorists.”
“I’m looking around, at a loss for words, completely shocked,” Zubi said.
The student claimed that he turned and asked another student if he heard what the assistant teacher said and she confirmed that she did.
“The teacher got close to him and said ‘we don’t negotiate with terrorists,’ knowing that Mohammed is Arabic and Muslim,” senior Vuk Tomasese told local station WABC.
Obviously realizing that the student had his feelings hurt, the teacher came and patted him on the back and said “I didn’t mean it like that.”‘
“In my head, I’m just like, what other way could he have meant that?” the student whined to the network.
Zubi said that the joke bothered him so much that he did not go to school for a week.
“I don’t feel like going back, I’m really uncomfortable,” Zubi told WABC. “I don’t want to see anyone, and I’ve been in my room all day — don’t want to see my friends, especially after what that teacher said to me.”
The Ridgefield School District released a statement about the joke saying that the district “has absolutely no tolerance for any sort of discrimination against any student or staff member” and that they notified law enforcement about the incident.
“The Ridgefield School District has absolutely no tolerance for any sort of discrimination against any student or staff member. The District strives to create an inclusive environment where students’ and staff members’ race, religion, national origin, and sexual orientation are embraced. While the District cannot legally comment on personnel or student matters, the public should be aware that the District immediately suspended the staff member while it is conducting a full investigation. Additionally, the District has notified law enforcement for its assistance. The District fully intends to pursue any and all legal remedies against the staff member as any discriminatory conduct has absolutely no place in our District.”