Muslim Teen Being Harassed Online After Teacher Pulled Off Her Hijab, Group Says

The school district warned students that cyberbullying after school can break school rules

A Muslim teenage girl is being harassed online after a teacher pulled off her hijab inside a Virginia high school and her family complained, a Muslim civil rights organization says. 

According to The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), the teen has received a flurry of abusive messages on social media since she said online that the teacher pulled off her hijab in front of her classmates on Nov. 16

The messages the teen received include a tweet saying “f--- that dumb Muslim b---,” and a private Twitter message saying, “F--- is wrong with you?” 

Additionally, CAIR said at least one teacher at the school -- Lake Braddock High School in Burke, Virginia -- tweeted that the teacher should be “free,” which CAIR said is intimidation against the student. 

The teacher, who was not publicly identified, told other teachers he thought the student was wearing a hoodie over the hijab, News4 reported. He reached to pull off the hoodie and the hijab came off, he reportedly said. Other teachers said both he and the student were embarrassed.

Fairfax County Public Schools Superintendent Scott Brabrand sent an email to the school community Wednesday reminding them about rules against cyberbullying.

"Bullying and cyberbullying are violations of the FCPS Student Rights and Responsibilities regulation and the rules of conduct apply off school property and outside school hours if the conduct is detrimental to the school or affects school discipline. We will take any violations seriously," he wrote.

The student said on Twitter she was talking with a friend when a teacher approached her and pulled the hijab off her head.

"So my hijab was ripped off my head today," she tweeted.

"Then he says 'Oh your hair is so pretty' and tries to play it off like it’s a joke," she said.

After her hijab was pulled off, she ran into a restroom and called her parents. They contacted the school and a mosque.

The superintendent said Wednesday that the "long-serving and well-respected teacher made a mistake."

"While there does not appear to be any intent to act maliciously, nor to engage in any disrespect or infringement on religious beliefs, the teacher did violate FCPS policies and practices. The teacher has been disciplined, was placed on leave and will return to the classroom following the Thanksgiving break," Brabrand wrote. 

In a letter to the school district, CAIR said the teacher’s actions “were not his first that regarded [the Muslim student’s] hijab, and that his actions fit into a broader pattern of concerning activity.”

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