GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (CN) - A middle-school substitute teacher berated a sixth-grader for nearly an hour, calling him a "terrorist" with a "stupid" and "fake" religion, after overhearing him discussing his religion - Islam - with a classmate, the boy's parents claim in court.
Semir and Elma Maric, for themselves and their son, sued Professional Educational Services Group LLC and the substitute teacher, Janice McKay, in Kent County Circuit Court.
The Marics claim that their son was intimidated, falsely imprisoned and abused at Kraft Meadows Middle School, in Caledonia, Mich., on March 4 this year.
The public school district is not a party to the complaint.
The Marics claim that McKay was hired as a sub that day through the defendant Professional Educational Services Group.
On March 4, the parents claim, their son "was discussing Islam with another classmate while in the classroom after one class and going to another class."
They claim that McKay - a substitute sixth-grade Language Arts and Social Studies teacher that day - overheard the conversation and "immediately started berating (their son.)"
"(Their son) returned to his seat while his classmate left to go to another class, but not before that student heard some of the things that McKay was saying to (their son."
The complaint continues: "McKay said many inappropriate and hateful things to (the boy). These things included, but were not limited to, telling (him):
"That he was a terrorist;
"That (his) religion was fake and that his God was fake;
"That (he) needed to go home and pray to Jesus;
"That it was stupid for (him) to pray five times a day;
"That it was stupid for Muslim women to wear headscarves; and
"That (the boy) had the mark of the beast and would be killed."
The Marics claim that McKay scolded their son for nearly an hour, and that he "missed an entire class period in another classroom because he was too afraid to leave."
The boy was alone in the room with McKay during the dressing-down, but "two of his friends came down the hallway several times and were able to hear many of the hateful things that McKay was saying to (him)," according to the complaint.
McKay then her class to stay away from another Islamic student, who began to cry, prompting McKay to tell "the other students that her tears were fake," the Marics say in the lawsuit.
They seek compensatory and punitive damages for ethnic intimidation, false imprisonment, intentional infliction of emotional distress, defamation and negligent training and supervision.
The parents say their son acted out over the next several days because of the traumatic experience, and that other students asked him about the incident, "which forced him to relive this frightening and humiliating experience many times."
The Marics are represented by Tyler Osburn of Schenk, Boncher and Rypma in Grand Rapids.