A high school student in Fairfax County, Virginia, said on social media she was shocked and infuriated when a teacher pulled her hijab off her head in front of other students at school.
The Lake Braddock High School 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 teacher, who was not publicly identified, told other teachers he thought the student was wearing a hoodie over the hijab. 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.
“This is horrifying,” said Ieasha Prime, the woman’s programming director at Dar Al-Hijrah Islamic Center. Women wear hijabs to identify as Muslim and to express religious modesty, she told News4.
“If there’s any part of my body that I choose to cover, my body is my business. And her hair is her business,” Prime said.
"A lot of teachers do that," another student told News4. "They, like, pull your hat off or take your hood off."
The girl whose hijab was removed said she had “appreciated and valued” the teacher, but criticized him for touching students in a series of tweets that went viral Wednesday.
The teacher was placed on leave by administrators.
"The teacher's action was inappropriate and unacceptable. The school administration has apologized to the student and her family for the incident,” Fairfax County Public Schools said in a statement.
One Lake Braddock student told News4 the teacher was a nice guy and didn't mean any harm.
But the advocacy group the Council on American-Islamic Relations called for more disciplinary action, saying in a statement that Muslim people are being targeted by hate.