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Teacher Called Our Son A Terrorist, Family Alleges
September 11, 2008


The 13-year-old student, Saleh Choudhary, said because of the April 6 incident, he has been intimidated and isolated by his peers, NBC5's Anthony Ponce reported.

"He came home, and before he even took his backpack off, he had tears in his eyes already," said Mohmmed Fahad Choudhary, Saleh's brother.

Choudhary's family said while he was at the Brentano Math and Science Academy in Logan Square, a teacher made a comment during a history lesson about Mesopotamia. Choudhary was the sole Muslim in the class.

"A CPS teacher made a comment referring to Saleh as a terrorist," said Christina Abraham of the Council on America-Islamic Relations . "Somehow, (she) turned Saleh into an example of a terrorist blowing up a plane."

Choudhary's family met with the Board of Education through a mediator to push for the teacher's removal.

"We want disciplinary action taken against the teacher," Abraham said. "The family does want her fired. They don't believe she should be teaching students anymore."

Saleh Choudhary declined to speak on camera, but said since the incident, he's been constantly harassed by his classmates, he's lost his friends, and few school days go by when he is not called a terrorist.

"He was emotionally affected, and he was scared to go back to school," Fahad Choudhary said.

Choudhary's family complained to the school principal, Ponce reported, and tried unsuccessfully for a transfer.

Chicago Public Schools CEO Arne Duncan said he commended the family for coming forward, and looked forward to a thorough investigation into exactly what was said.

"We have huge concerns about the conduct of the teacher," Duncan said. "From my standpoint, it is completely unacceptable and we're looking at some very severe sanctions."

The sanctions could range from a lengthy suspension to the teacher being fired, Ponce reported. Currently, the teacher still works within CPS, but is no longer at Brentano Academy.

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