A local Muslim woman who fled the Middle East when it became dangerous for Americans, says she and her family been harassed and threatened here as well.
Today she filed suit against the Washoe County School District for failing to protect her 16-year-old daughter.
A year and a half ago. the Middle East was a dangerous place for Americans. With the invasion of Iraq, fueling anti-American sentiment, Joan Barnes says she and her children were facing death threats. Barnes had legal custody of her 4 children and had wanted to bring them home for years, but her Egyptian ex-husband had refused permission. Finally, he relented. The family flew home to Reno for a tearful reunion with relatives and a new life in the U-S. The adjustment has not been easy. Last May, the FBI knocked on their door. A local tipster thought 17 year old Adam resembled a suspected terrorist. He was immediately cleared, but the experience was troubling. In addition, his 16 year old sister, Jana left school after she says she was repeatedly threatened and harassed. Today, those problems brought Joan and her daughter to the Federal Courthouse in Reno where her attorney and the ACLU filed suit charging the school district with failing to protect Jana, even participating in the abuse.
Administrators at the high school could not comment today, but in an Op-Ed piece in the Gazette Journal last spring....principal Cinda Gifford said the school had done everything possible to protect Jana, noting administrators were frustrated in their search for the source of the harassment and Barnes' rejection of potential solutions.