NASHVILLE, TN – A teacher has been suspended after a video was circulated on social media this week showing her removing a student’s hijab and exposing her hair to the class in Nashville, Tennessee.
“As a female, and as a mother of three daughters, it should never be okay to rip off an article of clothing off of a female, period,” Kasar Abdulla, who is the chief diversity, equity, and inclusion officer for Valor Collegiate Academies, told News 4.
Abdulla, who offers Muslim diversity and sensitivity training in local schools, was upset after watching the video posted this week on the social media app Snapchat with the caption, “pretty hair.”
The video was recorded in a classroom at the New Vision Academy Charter School in Nashville. A second video was then recorded under the caption, “lol all that hair cover up.”
“I highly encourage those faculty members in that particular school to take a crash course on why the hijab is so important to some of my students, and why my students cover up,” Abdulla said.
“It’s a symbol of who you are, and it’s a symbol of your faith, and it’s a symbol of your identity. So, it needs to be accepted and recognized,” she added.
Seeing the video later, the student’s mother and sister were outraged and told News 4, “This should never happen.”
Originally, he said the teacher denied making a video and said exposing the girl’s hair was not done out of disrespect.
“I understand peer-to-peer, student-to-student interactions, but as adults, it is our duty to model for them,” Abdulla said.
“It concerns me. I question, where was the teacher in this incident, and what role did the teacher play? I would like to know some answers from the administration.”
New Vision Academy told News 4 that the teacher has been suspended without pay.
“The actions depicted in the Snapchat video do not reflect the values, culture or climate of New Vision Academy,” the school principal, Dr. Tim Malone, said in a statement.
“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,” the statement continued.
Aside from suspending the teacher without pay, Malone said, the administration has had “direct discussions with the students depicted in the Snapchat. New Vision Academy apologizes for this unfortunate incident, and will be better in the future.”
Islam teaches that hijab is part of an obligatory code of dress, not simply a religious symbol displaying one’s affiliations.