A video circulated on social media shows a humiliated child covering her face as her teacher removes her hijab and has other students touch her hair.
The video was posted to Snapchat with the caption “pretty hair.” A second video was recorded showing the girl trying to readjust her scarf, with the caption, “lol all that hair cover up,” reported WSMV.
The initial video was recorded inside a classroom at New Vision Academy Charter School in Nashville, Tenn. Someone sent the video to the news station after it was apparently posted to the classroom teacher’s social media account.
“As a female, and as a mother of three daughters, it should never be OK to rip off an article of clothing off of a female, period,” Kasar Abdulla, who is the chief diversity, equity and inclusion officer for Valor Collegiate Academies and who offers Muslim diversity and sensitivity training in local schools, told WSMV.
Abdulla said she is not surprised by the behavior due to the ignorance of many teachers.
“I highly encourage those faculty members in that particular school to take a crash course on why the hijab is so important to some of my students, and why my students cover up. It’s a symbol of who you are, and it’s a symbol of your faith, and it’s a symbol of your identity. So, it needs to be accepted and recognized,” Abdulla said.
The school’s principal, Tim Malone, immediately launched an investigation when he was made aware of the video. Malone originally told WSMV that the teacher denied making the video and said removing the girl’s hijab was not done out of disrespect.
However, the student’s mother and sister soon got involved and the teacher was suspended without pay last Wednesday.
Malone released a statement about the incident saying:
New Vision Academy is a diverse school. As a school community, we pride ourselves on embracing and celebrating our racial, ethnic, religious and economic diversity. Our students learn, and grow, best when they learn from one another. To foster this environment, all students must feel respected and supported.
The actions depicted in the Snapchat video do not reflect the values, culture or climate of New Vision Academy. New Vision Academy will continue to emphasize that all staff members act in a way meant to empower and inspire our students. New Vision will use this video as an opportunity to press forward with increasing cultural sensitivity and awareness among all members of the New Vision community. The staff member in question has been suspended, without pay, and we have had direct discussions with the students depicted in the Snapchat. New Vision Academy apologizes for this unfortunate incident, and will be better in the future.
WSMV News 4
(Article By James Carter)