Lisle High School teaching assistant went on anti-Muslim, racist rant, student says

Sophomore Zoya Shaik calls on District 202 to implement policy changes

Tuesday, October 26, 2021
Lisle HS teaching assistant went on racist rant, student says
Zoya Shaik, a Muslim student at Lisle High School, said she was subjected to a 25-minute racist rant in health class by a teaching assistant at the school.

LISLE, Ill. (WLS) -- Earlier this month, a Lisle High School sophomore said she was subjected to a 25-minute racist rant in health class by a teaching assistant at the school.

"She talked about having background checks on 'these people' and 'your people' when she was referring to Indian people and Muslim people, two things I am," said Zoya Shaik who believes she was targeted because of her race and religion.

Shaik said the substitute teacher in the classroom didn't intervene, so she decided to push back on the teaching assistant's comments that also touched on Native Americans and immigration.

"My initial reaction was to correct what she was doing by telling her what she said was inaccurate and completely disrespectful," she said.

Shaik said she recently began wearing a hijab and she's the only student at the school who does.

"One, I felt anger. Two, I felt just unprepared. I felt shocked. I definitely felt targeted and personally attacked," she said.

Shaik spoke out about the incident at Monday night's Lisle District 202 board meeting, demanding a bystander intervention training program for staff and students.

"The reason I'm standing here in front of you, the board responsible for oversight, is 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," she said.

Board members were responsive to her complaints. Shaik's mother, Sara Sadat, said she supports her daughter standing up for herself and against racism.

"I cannot be prouder of the wonderful woman that Zoya has become," Sadat said.

Lisle District 202 officials said they're working to learn more about the incident to make sure it doesn't happen again. They said they're committed to ensuring that students feel safe and respected at school.

The staff member involved has not returned to the district since the incident, according to district officials.