The Ann Arbor school district is facing a federal civil rights investigation over remarks from a middle school counselor to a Muslim student in which the counselor said she doesn’t “negotiate with terrorists.”

The investigation, sparked by a complaint from the Michigan chapter of the Council on American Islamic Relations filed in December, aims to determine whether the comment from a Tappan Middle School counselor is considered harassment based on the student’s national origin, and whether staff retaliated after the student spoke up, the Detroit Free Press reports.

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“Calling a Palestinian Muslim student a ‘terrorist’ is a very offensive and hurtful comment that was compounded by the school board’s seeming lack of concern for the student when it was brought to their attention,” CAIR-MI Executive Director Dawud Walid said in a statement. “We are hopeful that the Office of Civil Rights investigation will prompt Ann Arbor Public Schools to take this matter and those like it, seriously.”

District spokesman Andrew Cluley told The Detroit News in an email on Wednesday “Ann Arbor Public Schools does not comment on pending legal matters.”

The incident involves an eighth-grader who was waiting to see a counselor on Nov. 14, when he asked another counselor if he could get a drink of water. That counselor denied the request, and when questioned why by the student, she replied “I don’t negotiate with terrorists,” according to the complaint.

When the student complained the comment was insensitive considering his Muslim faith and Palestinian ethnicity, the counselor and others allegedly ignored him for days, prompting the claims of retaliation. The complaint states the student previously enjoyed meeting with his counselor and working on his studies in the counselor’s office.

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“However, after the incident he is no longer comfortable to enter the counselor’s office, to meet with counselors, or to utilize the space for his work,” the complaint read.

“Additionally, he is uncomfortable in the hallways with his teachers, and when passing the counselor in the hallway,” it continued. “He has also expressed a concern to us that his own 8th grade counselor no longer addresses him even when they pass in the hallway and he believes that is a result of this very incident.”

“We are pleased that the Office of Civil Rights is taking this matter seriously and hope that it leads to some resolution that will ensure that no other students will have to attend school with educators that make biased comments,” CAIR-MI staff attorney Amy Doukoure said in a statement. “An investigation of this nature can have serious implications for the school district if it is found that they acted inappropriately, and we hope that the school district will finally realize the seriousness of this matter and the harm that it caused the student.”

The complaint alleges the November incident “is just the latest  … involving discriminatory remarks made by Ann Arbor Public School employees related to national origin, religion, and ethnicity.”

“Indeed, Ann Arbor Public Schools has a long history of tolerating discriminatory remarks such as these against Arabs and Muslims in the district,” it read.

The federal investigation follows just days after the district’s school board created controversy in one of the largest and oldest Arab American communities in the country with a divisive resolution calling for a ceasefire in Israel.

Board members voted 4-1 to approve a resolution calling for a “bilateral” ceasefire in both Gaza and Israel on Jan. 17, despite a petition from 1,800 demanding the board shelve the resolution.

Several parents among the 100 community members who signed up to speak at the meeting told the board they believe the inappropriate effort to take a stance on the international conflict will do nothing to advance the district’s mission, MLive reports.

The resolution states the 17,000 student district “encourages educators … to facilitate informed and respectful dialogue.”

“Taking a position on international conflicts is simply out of bounds for a local school board, and I see this as nothing more than a divisive distraction from the important work of educating our kids,” parent Abby Rosenbaum told the board.

“This resolution does not help advance the quality of life of one single child in this district,” parent Daniel Sorkin added.

Others spoke up about how teachers and others in the district are ill suited to discuss the ongoing conflict.

“They’re not experts on the situation,” Temple of Beth Emeth Rabbi Josh Whinston said. Teachers and staff “haven’t been trained in how to engage students in civil conversations around these issues.”