North Carolina Teacher Allegedly Assaults Muslim Kindergartner

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RALEIGH, N.C. -- Charlotte’s public school system is investigating allegations that a kindergarten teacher singled out a 5-year-old student for harassment because he’s Muslim.

The Council on American-Islamic Relations said Wednesday that the teacher grabbed the student by the neck at one point and called him a “bad Muslim boy” multiple times over several weeks.

Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools spokeswoman Renee McCoy said the district is investigating and takes the allegations detailed by CAIR in a letter to school officials seriously. She said she couldn’t comment further, partly because many employees are out for Thanksgiving.

The letter, written by CAIR lawyer Maha Sayed, said harsh treatment by the teacher at David Cox Road Elementary School made the boy fearful of coming to school.

“For example, she would routinely single out (the student) from his classmates and require him to carry a heavy backpack throughout the day ... which caused (the student) to develop significant back pain,” Sayed wrote in the letter dated Monday.

The boy’s mother had a meeting about his treatment with the principal and guidance counselor, and the principal placed him in another teacher’s classroom in October, according to the letter. Sayed says the boy continued to encounter the teacher he had complained about.


On Nov. 16, the teacher in the complaint approached the boy in his new classroom, “grabbed him by the neck and began choking him,” Sayed writes, noting that the boy was “crying and extremely shaken” afterward. The letter says that the boy’s new teacher had to separate him from the teacher who grabbed him.

Sayed’s letter was addressed to Rebecca Garland, North Carolina’s deputy superintendent of public instruction. It asks for an investigation and disciplinary action against the teacher, possibly including termination or rescinding her teaching license.

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