A Windsor Imam says a local teacher’s tirade against Muslim students who did not participate in the school’s pride day shocked the city’s Muslim community.

Last week, True North released exclusively obtained audio of a teacher at Northwood Public School going on a tirade where she tells her class that Muslim students’ abstaining from pride was “disgusting” and “an incredible show of hatred” that made her not want to be their educator.

According to Life Site News, approximately 600 out of the school’s 800 students stayed home on the school’s pride day – a 75% absentee rate.

In a statement to True North, Imam Abdullah Hammoud of Windsor’s Al Hijra Mosque said, “It was a huge shock for us as a community to see this educator in a public school, deal with a group of children at these tender ages, in such a manner.”

“The parents trust them to teach their children and care for their well-being but did not expect it would be in such a harsh way.”

In the audio recording, the teacher instructs the students to challenge their parents’ beliefs amid them choosing to keep their kids home. She also condemns the Muslims students after they tell her they can’t change their religion to have it support LGBTQ lifestyles.

For Hammoud, the latter was an overstep in her role as a teacher.

“She didn’t even try to understand why they were absent. She began attacking them and their faith.” 

Hammoud believes the teacher should apologize to the Muslim students for her “unacceptable behaviour.”

“She is saying this is a public school and in a country whose foundation is built upon freedom of speech, religion, and democracy,” noted Hammoud. “What type of example is she (giving), and what is she teaching them about our country by telling them they don’t belong in Canada if they have these beliefs?”

Hammoud believes Canada was built on a mosaic of diversity, and unity and that “this type of behaviour is geared to splitting our communities rather than strengthening their ties.” 

As previously reported by True North, Northwood principal Dustin O’Neil apologized to families shortly after the incident took place. In his Jun. 20 apology letter, O’Neil said the teacher’s comments were inappropriate.

Hammoud told True North the Muslim community found the apology to be “a positive gesture on their part.”

“Hopefully this type of incident won’t be tolerated, or repeated and it will be a lesson for all of us, specifically the educators in the public system.”  

In a statement to the press, the GECDSB said the incident “is being addressed internally.”

GECDSB Superintendent of Education Clara Howitt also told CBC News she could not confirm if the teacher is still at the school or in the same classroom.