Student alleges Wash. middle school made racist remarks in class

Student alleges Wash. middle school made racist remarks in class
CONCRETE, Wash. -- An Islamic-support group is calling for federal investigators to look into the Concrete School District after allegations that a teacher made racist remarks.

The district calls the allegations completely false.

The incident happened in October at Concrete Middle School where a student says a teacher compared Muslims to Nazis. The teacher allegedly said that "just like Hitler," Muslims train their kids to be martyrs and to kill innocent people.

The student who made the complaint is not Muslim, but her father is. They asked to remain anonymous out of fear of potential consequences after coming forward.

Tuesday, the Council for American-Islamic Relations called on the Department of Justice to step in, saying the Concrete School District didn't do enough to investigate the comments.

"We are standing up on behalf of this family," said Jennifer Gist with CAIR. "But we are also standing up on behalf of students and parents in Concrete School District, so they can ensure that their children, when they go to school every morning, are getting a quality education."
In response, the superintendent called this "false information... taken out of context." She declined to give an interview or make teacher Mary Janda available, instead sending over Janda's response to the school district.

In Janda's statement, she says, "the discussion led to some members of groups who employ extreme acts such as Hamas and the Taliban.... The point I was attempting to make was... that people who intend on imposing their will on others are bullies, whether they be Nazis or others... I was not talking about Muslim believers or Arabs in general but people that were trained to kill."

Residents who know of the teacher said they've never heard of any issues with her before.

"The kids that I know who've gone to the teacher have had no problems," said Tabithia Hicks. "The teacher was well-liked, well-respected, and to hear this from this, I'm like, wait, this isn't what we need here in Concrete. We're not a bunch of racists."

The district says it didn't hear about the incident until it got a letter from CAIR a month after it happened. And the district adds the student and her parents never filed a complaint directly with them.

The superintendent says they did an investigation and handled it internally, but CAIR called that inadequate.

"Our concern is that if this is what one student is coming forward to report, how many more times has this occurred and will this occur, and what kind of a message is the school district sending to other teachers that their behavior will be tolerated?" Gist said.