A sixth grader at the Darby Township School in the Southeast Delco School District was forced by his teacher to kneel and beg to have his cell phone returned, according to a lawyer for the student’s family.

The student is Black and Muslim, and a lawyer with the Philadelphia chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations called the actions of the teacher — who is white — “reprehensible.”

“It’s not something we would tolerate with someone entrusted with educating children,” said Timothy Welbeck, a civil rights attorney with CAIR who is working with the family of the student, whom The Inquirer is identifying only by his first name, Jahiir, at the family’s request.

Brenda Wynder, the district’s superintendent, said the incident was under investigation.

“Under the advisement of counsel, we do not have any comments at this time,” Wynder said in an email. She did not respond to a follow-up question about the teacher’s employment status.

Welbeck said Southeast Delco’s response to date was “not satisfactory.” Jahiir’s teacher returned to class two days after the Dec. 15 incident, Welbeck said, and the district has not informed the family of any reprimand or punishment.

According to CAIR, Jahiir’s teacher confiscated his cell phone after Jahiir pointed it at another student. It was unclear what the district’s policy is regarding cell phones.

While Jahiir had apologized, the teacher instructed him to beg and kneel, and said he “needed to see tears.”

Another student challenged the teacher’s action but was scolded for it, according to the organization — which described school officials as “unempathetic” in a meeting with community advocates about the incident.

Welbeck said it wasn’t clear if the teacher’s action was “a poor attempt at a bad joke, or if this was some other form of discriminatory behavior that was targeting Jahiir because he’s Black, because he’s Muslim.” The Darby Township School’s enrollment is 70% Black, 21% white, 5% Hispanic, and the rest multiracial or Asian, according to state data.

Jahiir is “doing reasonably well, all things considered,” Welbeck said, “but the event was traumatizing. It’s been difficult for Jahiir to return.”

The family has not yet decided what steps it might take next, but “legal action is not off the table,” said Welbeck. He said Jahiir’s mother, Taliyah Holmes, “believes the district has failed in their duty to reprimand the teacher properly, and they failed in their duty to properly supervise him.”

The aim, Welbeck said, is to make sure “this doesn’t happen to Jahiir or any other student in the future.”