Al-Rifai Suit Dropped Against Willows Unified School District

Feb 4, 2011 9:33 PM

Willows Unified School District Superintendent Mort Geivett says, "From a district standpoint, I feel as if the district has been vindicated."

In September of 2010 four Muslim siblings who previously attended Willows High School filed a lawsuit against the Willows Unified School District claiming that teachers and adminstrators didn't address alleged racial attacks against them by other students. Action News has interviewed the Al-Rifai family several times over the past year. Here's what they claimed. The quadruplets mother, Muyassar Al-Rifai says, "No actions were taken to stop the bullying, to stop any of the harassment and to stop the name calling. My kids get harassed almost everyday at Willows High School."

But Geivett says the result of the case being dismissed shows that teachers and administrators were doing just the opposite of what the Al-Rifai family had claimed. Mort says, "Not only did it express that we did our jobs. That we did our jobs well enough to prove to the court that we did what we needed to do to."

The alleged bullying came to a head when one of the siblings Shawki Al-Rifai got into a fight with classmate Dalton Day. Shawki claimed Day cornered him in the locker room, but Day maintained it was Al-Rifai who did all the damage. Day ended up with a broken nose. Shawki was then expelled from the school and charged with assult. Which is when the family decided to sue and tell America about their case on the Doctor Phil Show. Shawki's sister Luz says "We've been here all our lives, people say you should love it but all the stuff that we get, we can't take it anymore."

Although Geivett says he's happy to put this whole case behind him, he still wished it had never come to this in the first place. "It saddened me that this even came to light. It shouldn't have in my opinion. We had a good relationship with those students."

It's unknown at this time if the Al-Rifai family will appeal the decision. We tried to contact the family and their lawyer today, but were unable to reach them.


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