Girl Gets 'Uniform Infraction' at School —Over 'Jihab'

Teacher who wrote up 8th-grader misspelled 'hijab' on dress code violation form
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted Aug 22, 2022 8:31 AM CDT
Girl Gets 'Uniform Infraction' at School —Over 'Jihab'
Street view of Mystic Valley Regional Charter School, in Malden, Mass.   (Google Maps)

A Massachusetts school is taking heat after a teacher wrote up an eighth-grader there for wearing a hijab in class. NBC Boston reports on the incident at Mystic Valley Regional Charter School, where the girl was dinged for a "uniform infraction" for donning the religious head covering worn by Muslim girls and women. An Instagram user who identified herself as the girl's older sister put up a post late last week showing the "dress code violation" form her sister received, on which the teacher misspelled the word "hijab" as "jihab," per the AP. "No one wears a hijab lightly," the girl's sibling wrote, noting her little sister had only just recently taken the "huge step" to wear one to school. "It takes a lot of reflection and confidence to decide that you're ready for it and even more to practice wearing it everyday out in public, especially in such unfriendly times."

The older sister noted that one of their other sisters had already gone through a similar commotion with the school, adding that the school is known for being discriminatory toward non-white students. She notes that her younger sister came home crying after being written up. In a statement to the AP, the school's superintendent, Alex Dan, says that it does indeed allow students to wear items of religious clothing, but that they need to bring in a note from a clergy member to receive the accommodation. The girl's sister disputes that, saying that after her older sister had the same conflict, "no other girl that was going to wear hijab had to notify the school that they were going to do so."

In the school's statement, Dan backed up the teacher, noting they were a "well-respected staff member" who "should bear no responsibility for what has transpired," but he conceded that "our handling of the situation came across as insensitive," per the AP. The Massachusetts branch of the Council on American-Islamic Relations says it's legally representing the girl's family and investigating the incident, and that the girl is now wearing her head covering at school. The AP notes the school had previously been the center of controversy in 2017 after the parents of twin 15-year-old Black students said their daughters had been disciplined for wearing hair braid extensions, an apparent violation of the school's hairstyle rules. The school ditched the policy after public backlash. (More hijabs stories.)

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