Press Releases

CAIR-MN Welcomes Investigation into Violent Altercation Between Teacher, Student Caught on Video

MN-school-fight(MINNEAPOLIS, MN, 5/24/13) – The Minnesota chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR-MN) today welcomed a Champlin Park High School investigation of a violent altercation in a classroom between a teacher and minority student.

Concerned Somali community members reported the incident to CAIR-MN after two videos were posted online. In the first video, a student is seen approaching the minority student and violently attacking him after a verbal altercation. In the second video, a teacher grabs the minority student by the throat, chokes him, and twists his limbs. In that video, a student watching the ordeal is heard saying to the teacher, “That's enough, Mr. Hall” in an attempt to stop him.

Video I and Video II

“We are asking the school to conduct a swift, open and independent investigation into this matter,” said CAIR-MN Executive Director Lori Saroya. “A determination must be made as to whether the teacher followed protocol and if he used excessive force during this violent altercation.”

Saroya said that Minnesota law states that any “unreasonable interference with a child's breathing” cannot be considered reasonable force.

SEE: Minn. Stat 626.556 Sub. 2 (g) (5)

In 2012, the Anoka-Hennepin School District settled two lawsuits and a U.S. Department of Justice investigation into the bullying of students after six district students committed suicide in less than two years.

In February 2013, CAIR-MN called on Minneapolis South High School to utilize mediation and multi-cultural competency training to help remedy race-related issues at the school after a brawl reportedly between Somali and African-American students erupted at the school.

In January 2013, African-American students reported feeling unsafe at Washburn High School after a hate incident involving a dark-skinned doll that was hung by a string at the school.

Last year, the U.S. Department of Education (DOE) reached a federal agreement with Owatonna and St. Cloud Public Schools after CAIR-MN asked for an investigation into the harassment of Somali Muslim students.

SEE: CAIR-MN Asks DOE to Address Racial Tensions in Minn. Schools

CAIR is America's largest Muslim civil liberties and advocacy organization. Its mission is to enhance the understanding of Islam, encourage dialogue, protect civil liberties, empower American Muslims, and build coalitions that promote justice and mutual understanding.

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CONTACT: CAIR-MN Executive Director Lori Saroya, 612-327-6700, lsaroya@cair.com; CAIR National Communications Director Ibrahim Hooper, 202-744-7726, ihooper@cair.com

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