WESTON (CBSMiami) – The Broward School Board ruled Tuesday morning in the case of a teacher at a high school in Weston who was accused of making an alleged slur against a Muslim student.
“She called my son, on February 2nd as we walked into class, ‘here comes the rag head Taliban,’” said Youssef Hassan Wardani, the father of Deyab-Houssein Wardani.
Youssef Wardani said his son was called the slur—not by a fellow student—but his French teacher, Maria Valdes, at Cypress Bay High School. The student said the teacher said it several times.
The Broward School Board, after the father demanded action, voted Tuesday to suspend Valdes for five days without pay.
“The diversity of our students, our families and this community is of tantamount importance to us as a school district,” Tracy Clark, a Broward County Schools Spokeswoman said.
Youssef Wardani is furious over the suspension, says it doesn’t go nearly far enough. He wants the teacher to be fired or suspended for a year without pay.
Youssef Wardani addressed the school board hoping for a more harsh punishment. He accused the board of not doing enough.
“You have failed every teacher, parent and child in this district just to hide Mrs. Maria Valdes and racists like her,” he said.
The exchange got tense when School Superintendent Robert Runcie responded. He told Youssef Wardani to “stop having outbursts” or he would have him removed.
Runcie assured Youssef Wardani that he knows firsthand the pain of bigotry–sharing his personal story of hatred against his own family. It happened shortly after they moved to the US from Jamaica, at the hands of a neighbor.
“Walked across the street, turned around and without warning he started shooting a gun and shot my mother in the face,” he said. “When the shooter asked why he did this, he said he was angry and hated Jamaican immigrants who were coming here and taking out jobs.”
However Yousesef Wardani vows the issue is not over.
“We are not alone and not going anywhere and you are in violation and you all should be removed for bullying,” he said.
Youssef Wardani’s son, Deyab-Houssein Wardani, agrees with his father, thinks the suspension should have been “more severe” and that five days is like “a vacation for her.”
This isn’t the first time the Wardani’s have been at the receiving end of name calling—it happened when the family lived out of state. Youssef Wardani said something like this can be targeted at anyone—fueled by people exploiting stereotypes.
“Our son is not a raghead Taliban, replace it with something else, our son is not a bully, replace it with something else, our son is not the n word, our son is not a KKK,” said Youssef Wardani.
The school district said it could not be more harsh with the punishment because it was following state and federal guidelines as well as agreements with the union.
The family is considering legal action.