High school teacher faces suspension for calling Muslim student, 14, ‘rag-head Taliban’

Daily Mail

Deyab-Houssein Wardani said his French teacher, Maria Valdes, 64, called him ‘Taliban’ when he walked into class at Cypress Bay High last month

She called him the name repeatedly, inciting laughter from other students

When he asked his parents what the word meant, they contacted the school who said the boy could switch classes

But the parents called for the teacher to be fired or suspended and an investigation has been launched

The school has told them Mrs Valdes could be fired for five days but the issue will be heard at a district board meeting later this month


A Florida teacher is facing suspension for calling a 14-year-old Muslim student ‘rag-head Taliban’.

Deyab-Houssein Wardani, from Weston, said Maria Valdes first called him names in his French class at Cypress Bay High School last month when he walked in wearing a hooded sweater.

‘And she said, “Oh, no, the Taliban is here”,’ he told WSVN. ‘And at first I took it as a joke because I didn’t really know what Taliban was.

‘I raised my hand, and she said, “Yes, Taliban”, and everyone just kind of laughed.’

Over the next several days, the 64-year-old teacher, who often nicknames her students, continued referring to Deyab-Houssein as ‘Taliban’ – even calling him ‘rag-head Taliban’.

The teenager, who is an honor role student and a Boy Scout, asked his parents what the word meant, and they were shocked when they learned where he had heard it.

‘He’s a 14-year-old boy,’ his father Youssef Wardani, a Lebanese immigrant whose wife is from Morocco, told CBS Miami. ‘He should not have to worry about these kind of actions from a teacher in a class in a school and in a state that advertises diversity.’

The parents contacted the assistant principal of the school, and when asked about the name-calling, Mrs Valdes admitted that she had called their son ‘rag-head Taliban’, WSVN reported.

The school then told the Wardanis that their son could move into another French class.

‘Seriously!!’ Mr Wardani wrote on a Facebook page detailing the incident ‘She does the crime and he is the one to be punished.’

And when Mr Wardani asked the teacher about what she had said, her response was less than reassuring, he wrote on Facebook.

‘She responded with huffing and puffing accompanied with rolling eyes and arrogance,’ he wrote. ‘She showed no remorse whatsoever!’

He said that at first he only wanted an apology, but now he is calling for the teacher to be fired or suspended without pay for a year.

Broward County Public Schools has launched an investigation into the incident.

‘This situation is being taken seriously,’ it said in a statement.

‘The district launched an immediate investigation into the matter and will be bringing forward to the school board in March a recommendation for disciplinary action regarding this situation.’

Father’s fury after teacher calls Muslim son ‘Taliban’ in class

CBS reported that the teacher, who has worked for the district for 11 years and has no prior disciplinary record, will not be fired but could face a suspension.

Mr Wardani said he was told she would be suspended for five days – but he said that is not enough.

The school district is expected to take disciplinary action during a meeting on March 17.

In the meantime, Deyab-Houssein, who is known to friends and family as ‘DH’, has been returning to the same French class but admits it’s awkward now.

‘I am extremely disappointed with her, and I guess you could say it’s sad that someone would think like that to this day,’ the boy said.