Lisle school district investigates after teacher accused of making racist, offensive comments

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LISLE, Ill. — The Lisle school board says it will investigate serious allegations of harassment and racism after a student said a teacher used profanity and racially charged language in class.

At a board meeting Monday, sophomore Zoya Shaik, said a teacher in a health class at the high school ranted about race, background checks for “these people” including U.S. Rep Ilhan Omar and used offensive language when referring to immigration, deportation and indigenous people. Shaik said the teacher continued even after being told she was being offensive and inaccurate.

Shaik has been a part of the Lisle School District since preschool. She said she has always felt safe and included until two weeks ago when the teacher went on a 25-minute politically charged tirade that ended with profanity. She felt she was set apart from her classmates. She is the only student at the school who wears a hijab.

Another student addressed the board and said she was a victim of harassment when she was at the high school. She said she experienced antisemitism from staff and students. She said she was once shown a Nazi flag and told there should be another Holocaust. She said the administration did nothing.

Parents also spoke up about bullying at the school. 

The board president said the students and parents have their attention. 

“That’s unacceptable what I’m hearing here. The goal of the district is to have a healthy and safe and nurturing environment. Doesn’t sound like it from what you’ve been saying,” the board president said.

The board genuinely seem taken aback by what the students and parents what they had to tell them at the board meeting. They said that they would be sure to be following up with everyone who spoke up.

The school district and the high school responded to WGN News’ request for comment:

The Lisle District 202 Board of Education and Administration are committed to ensuring that each and every student feels safe and respected in our schools. The concerns raised at the October 25, 2021 Board Meeting about a recent troubling conversation with a teaching assistant during one of her classes have been taken very seriously. The situation has been, and continues to be, under investigation. 

At this time, our Lisle 202 Administrative Team is in contact with the students and parents who shared concerns at the meeting. The team is working diligently to learn more in order to create a path forward that reflects the positive culture we advocate and work for, and addresses these concerns so that situations like this may be prevented in the future.

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