Teacher Put On Leave After Pulling Off Student’s Hijab

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Rob Shimshock Education Reporter
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A Virginia school district put a teacher on leave after he pulled off a student’s hijab, according to a Thursday announcement.

Fairfax County Public Schools has placed a Lake Braddock Secondary School teacher, identified by students as “Mr. Saunders,” on leave after the teacher pulled off a student’s hijab, reported Patch.

“So my hijab was ripped off my head today,” tweeted the unnamed student. “By a teacher I appreciated and valued….Then he says ‘Oh your hair is so pretty’ and tries to play it off like it’s a joke. When clearly he should know better because HE’S a grown ass man and shouldn’t even be touching students.”

The student alleged that Lake Braddock suggested she express her feelings to Saunders about the incident in a one-on-one talk, or it would “take administrative action.”

Removing a hijab is “similar to removing somebody’s shirt or pants or any other article of clothing that works to provide modesty for that individual,” Ibrahim Hooper, a spokesman for the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), told WTOP.

“We welcome the decision to place the teacher on leave and to apologize to the student and her family, but further disciplinary action needs to be taken based on the results of the investigation into this disturbing incident,” Nihad Awad, CAIR’s National Executive Director, told Patch. “No student should be bullied or attacked because of his or her faith. Teachers must protect students, not subject them to harassment or intimidation.”

But some students and teachers are saying that Saunders was simply trying to remove the student’s hood, suggesting that the hijab came off with it, reported NBC Washington.

“A lot of teachers do that,” a student told the outlet. “They, like, pull your hat off or take your hood off.”

“The teacher’s action was inappropriate and unacceptable,” Fairfax County Public Schools wrote in a statement obtained by Patch. “The school administration has apologized to the student and her family for the incident. FCPS takes this incident seriously and, while a thorough investigation of the incident is conducted, the teacher has been placed on leave.”

The Daily Caller News Foundation reached out to the school district for further comment, but received none in time for press.

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