- An elementary school teacher allegedly pulled off a second-grader’s hijab in class, a family attorney told WABC-TV.
- Following the alleged incident, the girl no longer wants to wear Muslim garb, the family said.
- A lawyer for the teacher has denied the accusation, calling it “misinformation.”
A New Jersey family said a teacher at Seth Boyden Elementary School in Maplewood, New Jersey, pulled off their child’s hijab in class.
The child, 7-year-old Sumayyah Wyatt, was allegedly instructed by her teacher to remove her hijab on Wednesday, WABC-TV reported.
The second-grader said no and the teacher then forcibly removed it from her head in front of all her classmates, the family attorney said, according to the outlet.
“Ultimately, the teacher succeeds in pulling the hijab off her head, followed by a bizarre statement which is, ‘Your hair is beautiful,'” the attorney said. “It is incredibly disturbing. It is very, very, symbolic of disregard of her religion and certainly something that has affected my clients overall.”
Her mother, Cassandra, says the incident has made her daughter resistant to Muslim garb.
“I have to go introduce her to a different world that I’ve been trying to protect her from,” Cassandra said.
The family expects the teacher to face repercussions.
“She had to know that was a hijab,” she said. “She has to pay for that. I’d love for her to apologize to my daughter, and then my daughter would feel better.”
A lawyer for the teacher called the accusation “misinformation” and denied that the educator pulled off the hijab, according to WABC-TV.
“In accordance with school policy, (the teacher) directed a student in her class to pull down the hood on what appeared to be a hooded sweatshirt because it was blocking her eyes – and immediately rescinded that request when she realized that the student was wearing the hood in place of, rather than on top of, her usual hijab,” the lawyer said.
The accusations have “caused tremendous harm to (the teacher) – a teacher who, after more than 30 years of devoting her heart and soul to children of all backgrounds, has now had to ask for police protection,” she said.
The South Orange Maplewood School District is conducting an investigation.
“The district takes matters of discrimination extremely seriously,” school officials said, according to WABC-TV. “We remain committed to diversity, equity, and inclusion throughout our schools, including providing anti-bias and anti-racism training for all educators in the district on a regular basis.”