- Associated Press - Wednesday, November 2, 2016

PHOENIX (AP) - A Phoenix charter school has denied claims that a teacher harassed a Somali boy because he is a Muslim.

The American Civil Liberties Union of Arizona filed a complaint with the U.S. Departments of Justice and Education on behalf of the boy’s family.

A teacher at the Academy of Excellence choked the sixth-grade boy, called him a terrorist in class and verbally threatened him, according to the complaint filed Friday.

The complaint says the charter school eventually forced the boy’s mother to withdraw him and his younger sister after she raised concerns about the situation.

Attorney Lonnie Williams, who represents the Academy of Excellence, said Tuesday that the claims are “devoid of evidence and contain false and unsubstantiated allegations.”

Williams said internal investigations found no evidence of the claims.

A police report concluded that the allegations raised by the boy and his mother were “unfounded.” According to the report, the teacher and the school denied the ACLU’s claims and said the boy was disruptive and kicked out of the school for non-compliance issues.

ACLU attorney Heather Weaver called the situation “one of the most egregious cases of harassment that we’ve seen.” She said the school didn’t make an adequate effort to investigate the allegations and called the police investigation “superficial at best.”

The ACLU says a teacher showed a video clip about the terrorists responsible for the 9/11 attacks last school year and told the boy “that’s going to be you.” It also says she snapped at the boy when he raised his hand to answer a question, saying, “All you Muslims think you are so smart.”

The complaint also accuses the teacher of telling the boy that he and other Muslims will be deported if Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump is elected.



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