Muslim student upset after Gwinnett teacher asks if she has a bomb

The parent of an eighth-grade Muslim student at Shiloh Middle School in Gwinnett County is angry after an incident in which a teacher asked his daughter if she was carrying a bomb in her backpack.

Abdirizak Aden, who was born in Somalia, said that on Monday, his 13-year-old daughter, who wears the hijab, was in class when a teacher stopped her and asked what she had in her bookbag.

During an interview Friday night, his daughter , who isn’t being identified because of her age, said she remained silent. The unidentified teacher responded by asking her if she had a bomb in her bag.

She said the teacher called her out into the hallway. The teacher said she knew her joke went too far, especially because of “the things happening in the world right now,” said the daughter.

“It was very disrespectful,” the teen said. ” I came there to learn… At the end of the day I will still get my A or B and leave her class.”

“My daughter wanted to know why she was asking her that,” he said. He said his daughter was upset when she texted him to tell him about the incident. He went to the school to see what happened and was told that it was a mistake.

“I was upset,” said Aden, who lives in Snellville and works as a truck driver and grocery store owner. “I was going to take my daughter out (of that school). “

“We are from Africa, we are Muslims, we live in America,” he said. “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.”

Sloan Roach, spokeswoman, for Gwinnett County Public Schools, confirmed the incident happened.

“The remark was not appropriate, but based on their conversation and investigation,” school officials don’t believe it was made with “ill intent,” Roach said.

She said it was a regular teacher, not a substitute, who made the remark. The teacher was trying to get the students to put away their backpacks quickly and made the remark to the student that was basically, what do you have in there, a bomb?

The school’s principal, Eli Welch III, conducted an investigation and spoke with the teacher and the parent.

Roach said the principal has followed up with the family and apologized. School officials are also continuing to talk to and work with that teacher.

As for the family, both father and daughter say they forgive the teacher, although they would like to see more sensitivity training.

The incident follows heightened anti-Muslim rhetoric across the nation following the attack in California at a holiday party in which 14 people died. Donald Trump, who is seeking the GOP nomination for president, has also talked about a ban on Muslims entering the United States.

The incident “shows the level of Islamophobia impacting people’s relationships with one another,” said Yusof Burke, board president of the Georgia Chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations. “Obviously a teacher and a student should have a unique kind of relationship…It’s very disturbing to see.”

Support real journalism. Support local journalism. Subscribe to The Atlanta Journal-Constitution today. See offers.

Your subscription to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution funds in-depth reporting and investigations that keep you informed. Thank you for supporting real journalism.