MUSLIM KIDS MAY SUE FOR BEING KICKED OFF SCHOOL BUS - Mitch Perry

05/12/04

Muslim Kids May Sue for being kicked off The Bus

The families of 14 Muslim middle school pupils removed from a school bus last year say they are close to suing the Duval County School Board, alleging the youngsters were victims of religious discrimination.

The families filed notice under a Florida law that requires six months warning before suing a public agency. Under Duval County's unified city-county government, city attorneys represent the school system.

In a letter to the School Board, lawyers for the families and the Council on American-Islamic Relations claim the Fort Caroline Middle School students were discriminated against because of their religious beliefs and their race.

The 12- to 14-year-old students, recent emigrants from the Middle East and Central Asia, were removed from the bus October 29th by a driver who said they were insubordinate and verbally abusive. The case received national attention after the Council on American-Islamic Relations reported they had to walk five miles home.

Ahmed Bedier is from the Council on American/Islamic Relations (roll tape#1 o.q."all the Muslim students on the bus") And Bedier says that some students had to walk as far as 5 miles back home...

Duval County Superintendent of Schools John Fryer said on Monday that the School System and the company that owns the bus where the removal happened -First Student- have investigated the incident, but won't discuss the results.

The Council on American/Islamic relations media spokesman Amhmed Bedier says that's hardly a satisfactory response (roll tape#rowdy kids")

The incidents prompted a civil rights investigation by the Florida attorney general's office. A spokeswoman for the agency, Jo Ann Carrin, says the case is still under investigation.

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