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Broward School Board Suspends Teacher Who Used Slur Against Muslim Student

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Nadege Green
/
WLRN

The Broward County School Board voted Tuesday to suspend a teacher who was accused of calling her student "a raghead Taliban."

Maria Valdes, a French teacher at Cypress Bay High School, will be suspended for five days without pay and must complete mandatory diversity training.

The school board passed the item with no discussion.

Valdes allegedly made the comments to 14-year-old Deyab Houssein Wardani as he entered class wearing a hoodie.

According to the administrative complaint filed by Superintendent Robert Runcie, Valdes repeatedly called Deyab, who is Muslim, "the Taliban" and "terrorista" -- Spanish for terrorist.

Valdes would call on Deyab by saying, "Let's ask the Taliban," according to the complaint.

Youssef Wardani, Deyab's father, attended Thursday's meeting. He said the five-day suspension is inadequate.

Wardani initially asked for an apology from Valdes. Wardani said during their meeting she was flippant and didn't take the matter seriously. He said Valdes tried to downplay her comments as "a joke."

He said Broward County schools should have a zero-tolerance policy for teachers who bully and use racial slurs against students.

Wardani said Valdes should have been fired or suspended for a year without pay.

"To me, this is racism," he said before the meeting.

The school board found Valdes should be suspended for five days based on four administrative charges: misconduct in office, incompetency, immorality and a violation of a school board policy that says in part, teachers should infuse in their classrooms "respect, honesty, kindness."