Who Are We?
CAIR is America's largest Muslim civil liberties and advocacy organization. We are representing Amina*, a Muslim American who wears a hijab and had just qualified as a teacher. Amina lost her dream job and was blacklisted from future employment.
Amina was put in a very difficult situation while taking care of multiple special needs students and took an entirely understandable course of action that kept a special needs student from injuring himself. The student was non-verbal (unable to speak) and had Down's Syndrome and during PE, had run away from the class, in an outdoor environment and was heading towards a fence that bordered the school. She was put in the impossible situation of leaving two other special needs students with the PE teacher, while she ran after the student who had run away to keep him from running outside the school yard. Normally, Special Education teachers are, by law, required to be present, in the class, at all times, but Amina felt the concern for the running student was more of a priority than remaining with the other two students, who were in the care of the PE teacher--the better of the options she faced.
The student fell down when she tried to bring him back, and the student had a scratch to the elbow, which Amina reported, immediately, upon the return of the children to their regularly scheduled home room. Amina, herself, banged her knee, in the process of trying to bring the student back, and a normal course of action, the police investigated the incident and Amina was placed on Administrative Leave. The police investigation completely cleared Amina of any wrong-doing, as there were cameras to see what interaction had taken place and provided further proof she was within her statutory right to touch the student in order to help him back to class in the manner she did.
Instead of being hailed as a hero, she lost her job when the student's parents reported they felt "uncomfortable" that their son was being cared for by her. The school deemed the fact that she touched a student an inappropriate action, even though State Law clears teachers to touch students when it is for the purposes of keeping them safe--something very clearly explained in the police report.
Amina feels that she was discriminated against because of her religion. She feels that had she not been Muslim, and easily identifiable as such, she would not have faced a dismissal over the action, but as a weaker member of our society, has been dismissed on a pretext, so that those who left her with the three children, no walkie-talkie and no training on the handling of students with special needs, would not be held responsible for their own actions. Instead, the school principle and staff have terminated her employment in order to avoid loosing their own jobs over the situation--making Amina their scape goat.
Amina and her attorney have collected substantial evidence to challenge the outcome of her situation and will be challenging the dismissal as a wrongful termination.
How much are we raising and what will we do with the money?
Amina needs help with the legal fees, which an attorney has estimated in total to be $15,000.
We are first raising $7,500 dollars and will raise the second half of our total as the case proceeds.
*The name is fictitious for reasons of protecting the privacy of the individual.
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