The family of a Muslim middle school student with learning disabilities is suing a Long Island school district claiming it violated his civil rights by forcing him to confess that he was a terrorist. The student’s family is seeking $25 million in damages.
Nashwan Uppal, a 12-year-old Pakistani-American student at East Islip Middle School, has severe social and learning disabilities.
According to the lawsuit, on January 6, Uppal was being bullied in the school cafeteria. Students called him a “terrorist” and asked him “what he was going to blow up next.”
The suit claims that Uppal repeated some of the names he was being called, including the word “terrorist,” a concept he did not understand at the time.
The next day, he was called into the principal’s office where Principal Mark Bernard and Assistant Principal Jason Stanton allegedly interrogated Uppal and forced him to sign a confession. According to the family’s attorney, David Antwork, it’s all because of his client’s faith.
“Based on the comments that they made to him that he was a terrorist, that he knew how to make bombs, that he knew Osama bin Laden, that he was a member of ISIS, they tried to force him to confess to all of that. It’s clearly based on his religion.”
A spokesman for the school district said it does not comment on active litigation.