An eighth-grade student at Westdale Middle School in Baton Rouge, La. has been expelled for allegedly setting a substitute teacher’s hijab on fire using a cigarette lighter.
The incident occurred on the morning of Oct. 4, reports New Orleans Fox affiliate WVUE.
The local school drug task force (apparently an arm of the sheriff’s office) was summoned to the Westdale at 9:50 a.m. to investigate, notes ABC affiliate WBRZ.
Parents say they were never informed about the incident. Many were unhappy about this lack of notification. Some have alleged a cover-up.
The reasons that the incident has only come to light some three weeks later remain unclear.
The teacher told investigators from the East Baton Rouge Parish sheriff’s office that she had admonished the 14-year-old student for his behavior moments before he set her head-covering aflame.
Both the teacher and the student remain unidentified.
The teacher suffered no serious injuries as a result of the incident.
“The teacher is not in the hospital, and she didn’t have third-degree burns,” Sheriff’s Office spokeswoman Savannah Williams told The Advocate, a Baton Rouge newspaper.
The local school superintendent, Bernard Taylor, said school officials responded to the incident properly.
“It’s unfortunate that one student out of the almost 1,200 at Westdale made a bad, bad choice and faces some pretty serious consequences,” Taylor told The Advocate. “But it doesn’t change the fact that Westdale is a fine school.”
Drug task force investigators escorted the offending eighth-grader to juvenile detention. He faces aggravated battery charges.