NEW YORK DAILY NEWS
Friday, December 11, 2015, 9:13 PM
A Google image shows Shiloh Middle School in Snellville, Ga., where a 13-year-old Muslim girl said her teacher asked if she had a bomb in her backpack during class.
A Muslim Georgia girl says it was her classmates who stuck up for her after her teacher made a sick joke about the teen having a bomb in her backpack.
Faiza Osman, an eighth grader at Shiloh Middle School in Snellville, told the Daily News Friday that she could hear other students gasp after her science teacher blurted out the sick joke in the middle of class Monday.
“Her saying that towards me was very disrespectful, but that won’t stop me from doing what I came to do,” said the resilient Faiza.
The 13-year-old vowed that the bigoted joke wouldn’t keep her from prospering at the school.
“I came in fifth grade, and in fifth, sixth and seventh, nobody ever said anything like that because they respect my religion.”
Faiza wears the hijab and is a practicing Muslim. Her father, Abdirizak Aden, emigrated in 1990 from Somalia, eventually landing in the Gwinnett County community, some 30 miles east of Atlanta.
On Monday, Faiza said one boy raised his hand to point out the insult when the teacher asked the girl, “Do you have a bomb in your book bag?” The teacher, who hasn’t yet been identified publicly, took Faiza out into the hall to say she realized she had made a mistake.
Officials for Gwinnett County Public Schools have apologized for the bizarre attempt at humor.
Abdirizak Aden (pictured), who was born in Somalia, said he was so upset about the incident that he almost took his daughter out of school.
Aden, her father, told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution he nearly took his daughter out of school when she texted him about the encounter.
“We are from Africa, we are Muslims, we live in America,” Aden told the newspaper. “I didn’t teach my children to hate people or to think they are better than other people. I don’t want nobody to treat them like that.”
Officials with the school district didn’t immediately address whether the teacher had been disciplined.
The district’s website notes that it prohibits discrimination based on religion in any “employment practice, educational program, or any other program, activity, or service.”
Shiloh Principal Eli Welch has apologized to the family and is speaking with the teacher and the district’s human resources department about the joke, Gwinnett County Public Schools spokeswoman Sloan Roach told the Gwinnett Daily Post.
Roach said that even though it appears there was no “ill intent” behind the quip, “it’s not an appropriate remark to make to any child.”
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