LA: Teacher Fired in Scarf Case



The Jefferson Parish school system has fired a West Jefferson High School
teacher accused of using religious slurs against a Muslim student and
pulling off her head scarf, a school system source said this week.

Superintendent Diane Roussel would not confirm that teacher Wes Mix has
been fired, but said she approved on Tuesday a recommendation from the
system's personnel office, ending months of in-house investigation
triggered by the Jan. 30 incident. The source said the recommendation is to
fire Mix, though he has one more chance to fight for his job.

Mix, who could not be reached for comment, was sent a certified letter this
week informing him of the district's decision, Roussel said.

Because he is a tenured employee, Mix has a right to a public or private
hearing before the School Board if Roussel terminated him, said Assistant
Superintendent Ronald Ceruti, who is in charge of personnel. The board can
then uphold, amend or scrap Roussel's action, Ceruti said.

In February, then-sophomore Maryam Motar, 17, said that Mix, her world
history teacher at the Harvey school, pulled back her culturally mandated
head scarf and said, "I hope God punishes you. No, I'm sorry, I hope Allah
punishes you."

According to Motar, Mix also said, "I didn't know you had hair under there."

The remarks were part of a string of ethnically charged jokes Mix used in
his classes toward her, said Motar, whose family enlisted the support of
the Council on American-Islamic Relations in Washington, D.C.

Motar said Wednesday she would be pleased if the recommendation was made to
fire Mix. "He needs to be punished for what he did," she said.

Mix, a six-year veteran of the system and a professional musician, was
transferred Feb. 2 from West Jefferson to Helen Cox Junior High School in
Harvey, prompting complaints from Motar's family that the district allowed
him to keep teaching. Days later, the system decided to put Mix on an
indefinite paid suspension, pending the results of an internal investigation.

At the time, Mix downplayed the controversy as a "nonissue" and a "bunch of
craziness," and said that "all of this has been resolved..."

 


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