A teacher in Tennessee has been suspended after a video of someone removing a little girl’s hijab circulated on social media. Two videos were actually posted on the teacher’s Snapchat account. One caption reads, “Pretty hair.” The other reads, “lol all that hair cover up.”
A Snapchat user saw the video and reported it to the local news station, WSMV. The station showed it to Kasar Abdulla, chief diversity officer for Valor Collegiate Academies. She stated,
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. 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. 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.
In case you aren’t aware, this is akin to ripping a habit off a nun. The hijab is a literal symbol of modesty in Islam. The idea is that women who wear the hijab liberate themselves from vanity and competition with other women. One of the main functions of the hijab is to protect women from abuse and wonton “desires.” By removing the hijab without her consent and playing with her hair, they have committed abuse against her – literally and symbolically.
It is not clear if the teacher was the one who actually removed the hijab, although it appears to be a woman’s hand pulling it off. The student’s mother stated,
This should never happen. I understand peer-to-peer, student-to-student interactions, but as adults, it is our duty to model for them. 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.
The school has released a statement saying that the teacher’s actions do not reflect the school’s views. The teacher has been suspended without pay.