A public school employee in Brooklyn allegedly forced a Muslim child to watch children eat while he fasted during one of the most important religious holidays in the Muslim calendar, according to a civil rights complaint filed on Wednesday.
On May 14, while a 9-year-old Muslim student at Public School 264 Bay Ridge Elementary School for the Arts was fasting for Ramadan, an employee at the school allegedly told him that because he was laughing during a lunch break, "you must sit in the cafeteria and watch all the kids eat while you are fasting!" according to the complaint.
The state chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations filed the complaint with the New York City Commission on Human Rights.
The student’s mother, Zaman Mashrah, filed a discrimination complaint with the New York City Department of Education's Office of Equal Opportunity and Diversity Management in May. The DOE requires that a written determination be provided to Mashrah within 90 days but she said no report has been created, despite several requests, and the employee still works at the school.
During Ramadan, while other fasting students were taken to the theater at lunch time, Mashrah’s son was forced to sit in the cafeteria at a table by himself and watch as students ate their lunch in front of him, the complaint said. The boy broke down in tears as he recounted the incident in front of the school’s principal, Marisa Bolognino, the complaint states.
Mashrah said she’s had meetings with investigators who told her they were not allowed to provide any information, and argued "they’re not taking this matter seriously."