PHOENIX — Lawyers have filed a complaint with two federal agencies against a Phoenix charter school over claims that a teacher harassed a student because he is Muslim.
The Academy of Excellence has denied the allegations made by the American Civil Liberties Union of Arizona and the parent organization.
The charter school’s attorney Lonnie Williams told the Arizona Republic on Tuesday that the complaint was “devoid of evidence” and that a police report said the allegations were “unfounded.”
The nonprofit’s letter to the U.S. Departments of Justice civil rights division and the federal Department of Education was turned in Oct. 25.
It accused Faye Myles of picking on the sixth-grade Somali boy starting in January and that it escalated to assault:
Ms. Myles’ harassment of A.A. was extensive. … One day, when he continued to talk to a classmate, she slammed her hands down on her desk and then walked over to him, grabbed him by his neck, and choked him tightly until his eyes began to from the pain. …
After the incident, Ms. Myles tried to intimidate A.A. into not telling his mother about the abuse …”
The document also said Myles called him a terrorist in front of the other students and said, “I can’t wait until (Donald) Trump is elected. He’s going to deport all you Muslims.”
The child’s mother complained to the school, the ACLU said, but school officials instead told her an internal investigation uncovered no wrongdoing on the teacher’s part.
Eventually, the mother pulled the boy and a sibling out of the school.