Teacher Charged After Uproar Over Arabic

By Ernesto Londoño
Washington Post Staff Writer
Wednesday, September 13, 2006

A substitute teacher was charged with disorderly conduct Monday after she allegedly lashed out at a group of Gaithersburg high school students for using words in Arabic while practicing a commemorative speech to mark the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks.

Montgomery County police say Carol J. McVey, 49, began screaming at the group of Gaithersburg High School students and one of their teachers for saying "assalamu alaikum" -- a greeting that means peace be with you -- while they rehearsed the speech in a classroom.

Police said McVey, of Olney, began yelling at the students and their teacher.

"Islam doesn't mean peace, it means killing everyone for peace," she told them, according to a charging document.

The students were working on a speech that they intended to deliver at a memorial service at Kingsview Middle School that day.

The students and one of their teachers left the classroom in fear after the outburst, police said, and McVey followed them down the hall, where her alleged tirade intensified.

"Because of you our families died in New York!" she allegedly yelled, threatening to go to the principal's office to ask that Kulsum Malik, the teacher who was with the students, be told to leave, the charging document said.

Police spokeswoman Lucille Baur said she didn't know whether Malik or any of the students working on the speech are Muslim.

When McVey reached the office of Assistant Principal Laurie Bricker and began yelling again, Bricker asked her to leave. As the administrator was telling McVey to go, McVey began to argue that it was Malik who should be asked to leave, police said.

As an officer assigned to the high school began escorting McVey out, she allegedly resisted, saying she wanted to get Malik's information in order "to report her," according to the charging document.

On her way out, McVey "yelled at a Hispanic teacher about the inappropriateness of speaking to students in languages other than English," police said.

A woman who answered the phone at McVey's home last said "I have no comment" and hung up.

McVey was also charged with resisting arrest, disrupting school activities and trespassing, which are all misdemeanors. She was released on her own recognizance.

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