North Carolina dad demands answers after daughter says teacher bullied her for weeks

NORTH CAROLINA -- A Cary, North Carolina father is demanding action from the Wake County Public School System after his daughter says she was harshly picked on and bullied by her high school math teacher over several weeks.

Siyona Shah is a straight-A student in advanced classes. But when the 15-year-old started pre-calculus at Green Hope High School this semester, the 10th grader's love of learning took a dark turn.

"I would come home from school, sobbing," Shah said.

Siyona said her 4th-period pre-calculus teacher made class a nightmare. She's a self-admitted neat freak -- she said the teacher would mess up her desk to frazzle her, taunting her in front of the class and tease her about her voice.

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"He said my voice makes him think of 'Alvin and the Chipmunks,' (referring to my) voice, height, probably race. I don't know."

She said it went on every day for weeks. But the tipping point came in a class discussion on how to handle an active shooter.

"He made a comment about school shootings that got to me," she said. "That we should have Siyona go out and let her be the sacrifice. Maybe he was joking. But I didn't look at it as a joke. That's not something you joke about."

Shah's father, Sanju, was on a business trip in India but cut the trip short and flew home when his daughter told him what happened in February.

"A high school teacher to make this kind of statement is completely insensitive and out of line," Sanju Shah said.

Siyona Shah was able to transfer to another teacher's class and the family immediately met with Green Hope administration.

"My dad was trying to tell them that this is a bullying case, but they would never use the word bullying."

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The WCPSS employee handbook outlines a specific protocol for how to handle harassment and bullying complaints against teachers.

"The principal should've given us a copy of this policy," Sanju Shah said with a copy of the handbook in his hand.

The Shahs said they didn't know the teacher bullying policy existed until a few days ago. But it's been three months since they reported the case.

The policy said the investigator should have provided written notification within 15 days.

"I just want to see some, any action, anything to make sure he never does this again," Siyona Shah said.

ABC11 reached out to WCPSS about the Shah's case. District officials said state privacy laws bars the school system from discussing a personnel issue.

Shah and her father said they don't want her teacher fired. They just want accountability.

Sanju Shah said after his repeated insistence, the district has pledged to re-open its investigation and deliver him the results by June 7.
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