Lisle Senior High School sophomore Zoya Shaik is now calling for policies to prevent discrimination and bullying.
She said she was subjected to a 25-minute racially charged rant from a teacher on October 12. Shaik shared her story at the Lisle school board meeting Monday night, where she was joined by dozens of classmates there to support her.
"An instructor brought politics, racially and religiously charged topics, into a classroom setting that were directed toward me, the only hijab-wearing student currently attending Lisle high school," Shaik told board members.
She said when she complained to school officials, she was told there is no policy to deal with such incidents.
She said she decided to attend the school board meeting "not to relive the horrible events that took place in that classroom, but to make a demand for immediate implementation of policies and programs to prevent discrimination and bullying from happening again ever to me or any other student attending the school now and in the future."
After Shaik’s remarks, another student and a parent got up to share similar experiences.
A Jewish student said another student told her there should be another Holocaust, and they should start with her family. She reported the remarks to the school but they did not take action.
"There is definitely a pattern," Shaik said. "It’s a systemic problem. There’s a lot of teachers that do make these remarks and there’s nothing that has been done about it."
The school board president told the students: "You have our attention. This is serious," and promised to reach out to the students for more information.
The Lisle District 202 superintendent’s office released a statement to students' families on Tuesday saying the teacher was no longer an employee of the district and an investigation into the incident is ongoing.
The full letter is as follows:
Dear Lisle 202 Families,
I would like to take a moment to address the concerns shared by a Lisle High School student at last night’s Board Meeting. The student provided information about a recent troubling conversation with a teaching assistant (paraprofessional) during one of her classes. I want to assure you that the Board of Education and Administration are committed to ensuring that each and every student and staff member feels safe and respected in our schools and the concerns raised have been taken very seriously. The situation described by the student has been, and continues to be, under investigation and the teacher assistant involved no longer works with students in our schools.
At this time, our Lisle 202 Administrative Team is in contact with the students and parents who shared concerns at the meeting about this and other topics. The team is working diligently to learn more in order to create a path forward that adheres to Board Policy, reflects the positive culture we advocate and work for, and addresses these concerns so that situations like this may be prevented in the future. Lisle 202 prides itself on the close-knit community we have historically enjoyed. Conduct constituting bullying or harassment will not be tolerated and does not reflect who we are.
If you or any of your students are feeling anxiety, stress or concerns over this or other situations, please contact your building administrator, student support team, or call the anonymous school tip line to report a problem.
- Lisle High School Tip Line - 630.493.8366
- Lisle Junior High School Tip Line - 630.493.8212
- Lisle Elementary School Tip Line - 630.493.8198
Thank you for your patience as we continue to investigate this serious matter.