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Teacher suspended after video posted of hijab being taken off

24th Nov 2017

Elham Asaad Buaras

A teacher in a Tennessee school has been suspended after posting a video showing a student wearing a hijab while someone removed the religious headscarf, exposing her hair to the class.

Other students can be seen playing with the girl’s hair as she hides her face and tries to readjust it. That video was posted on the social media App Snapchat with the caption, ‘pretty hair.’ It was recorded in a classroom at the New Vision Academy Charter School in Nashville, US.

A second clip was then recorded under the caption, ‘lol all that hair cover-up’. The recording reportedly posted from the teacher’s social media account.

According to local News 4, who spoke with the girls family, the family was “angry and said this should have never happened”.

The Academy’s Executive Director, Dr Tim Malone, confirmed on November 9 that the teacher who posted the video online has been suspended without pay.

“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”, said Malone.

Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) branded the incident a criminal act. CAIR Senior Litigation Attorney Gadeir Abbas said, “The video depicts a criminal assault, evidently motivated by the religious identity of the student, which makes this a possible hate crime. We call on local law enforcement authorities to investigate this incident, determine who removed the student’s hijab, and take appropriate action to hold that person accountable.”

The Washington-based Muslim civil rights and advocacy organisation is also calling for diversity training for all school staff.

The incident is not the first of its kind in the US. Earlier this year, City Education Department officials in New York fired a substitute teacher after he ripped a hijab off the head of a second-grade student.

According to police reports, the teacher threatened to remove the student’s hijab after she misbehaved in class. When she refused to follow his instructions, he pulled the hijab off her head, injuring her right eye.

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