Florida high school teacher suspended for remarks against Muslim student

A South Florida high school teacher was suspended without pay for a week after being accused of calling a Muslim student a Taliban.

The Broward School Board unanimously approved the suspension Tuesday against the Cypress Bay High School teacher Maria Valdes. Valdes is also required to attend diversity training.

However, the 14-year-old’s father, Youssef Wardani, wanted the teacher fired or suspended for a year calling the suspension a “vacation,” the Miami Herald reports.

“I promise you for the rest of my life, until my dying breath, I’m going to make sure no child goes through what my [son] had to go through,” Wardini said after the meeting.

Superintendent Robert Runcie said he filed an administrative complaint against the 64-year-old French teacher after he heard about the incident.

“I take a lot of exception to any statement, or suggestion that somehow this administration and school board did nothing or was ever lax in our response,” Runcie said. “To the contrary, this matter was taken very seriously and was addressed with an appropriate sense of urgency.”

According to the complaint, Valdes made several Taliban references toward the boy, who is of Lebanese and Moroccan decent. One of the comments included a slur.

When the boy walked into the room, the teacher allegedly said “Ah no! The Taliban is here.” The woman also referred to the boy as “terrorista.”

The boy told the paper he did not know what the Taliban was until he asked his parents. After learning what the name meant, he did not think it was funny at all.

Valdes was not disciplined prior to Tuesday’s ruling, the paper reports.

In 2013, the Broward School Board unanimously decided to suspend a Blanche Ely High School teacher for a week without pay for making vulgar remarks to a Haitian-American student.

The Associated Press contributed to this report

Click for more from the Miami Herald.