A New Jersey high school teacher accused of mocking a Muslim student in class and calling him a terrorist has been suspended, officials and the teen's family said.
The student, Mohammed Zubi, 17, a senior at Ridgefield Memorial High School, asked a teacher last week whether he could have more time to complete an assignment, his family said.
That's when the instructor is alleged to have quipped, "We don't negotiate with terrorists," said Selaedin Maksut, the executive director of the Council on American-Islamic Relations, or CAIR, in New Jersey, speaking on behalf of the family.
"It perpetuates the stereotypes against Arabs and Muslims and that, for the past 20 years, this is what organizations like CAIR and others have been trying to combat," Maksut said Tuesday. "You'd, like, think 20 years later these would be dying down. But here they are, being used by a teacher in a classroom, so it's very alarming to see."
The Ridgefield School District said in a statement that it "has absolutely no tolerance for any sort discrimination against any student or staff member" and that it strives "to create an inclusive environment where students' and staff members' race, religion, national origin and sexual orientation are embraced."
The teacher, who has been suspended while the district investigates, "intends to pursue any and all legal remedies," it added.
A representative for the New Jersey Education Association, the union that represents public school teachers, couldn't be immediately reached for comment Tuesday.