Family Says Daughter’s Grade 2 Teacher Ripped Her Hijab From Her Head At Maplewood School

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MAPLEWOOD, New Jersey (WABC) – A family in Maplewood, New Jersey, say their young daughter’s teacher ripped her hijab from her head, traumatizing the child.

The allegations have many in the community wondering, how is this going in 2021?

Eyewitness News spoke to Sumayyah Wyatt’s mother, Cassandra Wyatt, who said her daughter was no longer interested in wearing the Muslim costume after the incident at Seth Boyden Elementary School.

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The family’s attorney says the second-grader wore her hijab to class on October 6, as she does every day.

But that day, the teacher allegedly told him to take it off. When she resisted, the teacher ripped her off in front of the class.

“In the end, the teacher manages to get the hijab off her head, followed by a bizarre statement which is, ‘Your hair is gorgeous,'” the lawyer said. “It’s incredibly disturbing. It’s very, very, symbolic of contempt for her religion and certainly something that has affected my clients overall.”

Cassandra Wyatt said the teacher’s actions must have consequences.

“She must have known it was a hijab,” she said. “She has to pay for this. I would like her to apologize to my daughter, and then my daughter will feel better.”

Meanwhile, lawyer Samantha Harris, who represents the elementary school teacher, released a statement in response to the allegations:

“This is not the story of a teacher who forcibly removed a student’s hijab. It’s a story of social media, misinformation and what happens when people publish rumors without any knowledge or consideration of the truth. Ms. Herman did not, as alleged, forcibly remove a student’s hijab or tell a student that she should not have to wear a hijab. school policy, Ms Herman asked a student in her class to remove the hood from what appeared to be a sweatshirt because it was blocking her eyes – and immediately rescinded that request when she realized that the student wore the balaclava in place of her usual hijab rather than over it. Herman – a teacher who, after more than 30 years of devoting herself body and soul to children from all walks of life, has now had to seek protection from the police because of the threats they receive following the dissemination of false information on social networks.”

The South Orange Maplewood School District is investigating the incident.

“The district takes issues of discrimination very seriously,” officials said in a statement. “We remain committed to diversity, equity and inclusion in all of our schools, including providing regular anti-bias and anti-racism training to all educators in the district. “

The lawyer said he is working hard to help the family find a solution, but of course they are focusing on the little girl.

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It all came to light after fencer and Olympic medalist Ibtihaj Muhammad, also from Maplewood and known to compete in her hijab, took to Facebook to shed light on the incident.

“This is abuse,” she wrote. “Schools should be a safe haven for all of our children to feel safe, welcome and protected, regardless of their faith.”

We do not identify the teacher because the school district has not confirmed their identity.

CAIR-NJ requests that the teacher be fired.

“We call for the immediate dismissal of the teacher,” said executive director Selaedin Maksut. “Anything less is an insult to the students and parents of Maplewood. Forcibly removing a Muslim girl’s religious headscarf is not only exceptionally disrespectful behavior, but also a humiliating and traumatic experience. Muslim students already face harassment from their peers, it is unthinkable that a teacher would add to their distress. Islamophobia in our public schools must be tackled in New Jersey and across the country. Classrooms are a place where students feel safe and welcome, without fear of practicing their faith.

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