Muslim Mom Sues School for $50 Million

CENTRAL ISLIP, N.Y. (CN) — Schoolyard bullies frightened a 12-year-old developmentally disabled Pakistani-American boy by calling him a terrorist, so to fend them off and without knowing what he was talking about, he said he belonged to ISIS and was going to blow up the school’s fence, his mother says in a $50 million lawsuit against the school.
     Nubaisha Amar sued the East Islip Union Free School District, East Islip Middle School, the school superintendent, principal and an assistant principal on Monday in Federal Court.
     Amar calls her son’s ordeal a prime example of “Islamophobia,” and “rampant discrimination” against Muslims, which is “ongoing, escalating and troubling.”
     Her son has a known “social, language and learning disability,” she says. Through bullying by his peers, he was coerced to say he was a member of ISIS, “a vile, abhorrent and infamous terrorist organization,” his attorney wrote in the 44-page lawsuit.
     The boy was born in Islip Terrace, a town in Suffolk County, a suburb of Long Island, N.Y.
     He was attending Connetquot Elementary School when the bullying began. He had been diagnosed with “severe learning and social disabilities, as well as speech, language, vocabulary and communication impairment.”
     He had been diagnosed with the learning disabilities since kindergarten, the lawsuit notes. Psychological evaluations in his file noted that he was “very sweet and cooperative,” and a “kind boy,” “very polite.”
     But in January this year he was subjected to “severe bullying” from an older pack of students in the school cafeteria. They called him a “terrorist,” and asked “what he was going to blow up next,” his mother says in the complaint.
     In an attempt to stop the incessant bullying, he finally said that he is a terrorist and was going to blow up a fence at the school.
     But he had no idea what that meant, his mother says.
     He thought a “‘terrorist’ was someone who ‘travels from place to place,’ more akin to a ‘tourist,'” and he said “fence” “because that was the first thing he saw when he peered out of the cafeteria window,” his mom says in the complaint.
     He was plucked out of gym class and hauled into the principal’s office, where the principal interrogated him, asking him, among other things, if he knew who Osama bin Laden was, and if he was part of ISIS, his mother says.
     His backpack, wallet and cellphone were illegally searched, and he was forced to confess that he was part of ISIS, that he knew how to make bombs, was making them at his home, and was going to blow up the school, according to the complaint.
     He didn’t write the confession; he just unknowingly signed it, according to the complaint.
     That first bogus confession was ripped from his hands and torn up, and a new draft was made. He was forced under duress to sign another confession to the same accusations.
     His mother, who was six months pregnant at the time, came into the office , “scared, dizzy and distraught,” after being called to talk to security. Her son was banned from school for more than a month.
     The boys who taunted him were never disciplined, his mother says.
     Mother and son were taken to a police station and their home was searched, including the boy’s room, his phone and all computers.
     The boy now suffers from “extreme emotional distress, including, but not limited to nightmares, sleeplessness, crying, fear, humiliation and stress,” according to the complaint.
     The family seeks punitive damages for defamation, racial and disability discrimination, intentional infliction of emotional distress and several constitutional violations.
     The school district declined to comment in a phone call Tuesday afternoon.
     The lawsuit was filed by David Antwork.

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