File this news under "Things to infuriate you": a Tennessee teacher posted a video on Snapchat that showed her pulling a hijab off of a Muslim student.
In the disturbing video originally reported on by Nashville's WSMV News, you can see a group of hands reaching over to rip the anonymous girl's hijab off as she covers her eyes and leans away. In one post, the caption reads, "pretty hair." In another, it reads, "lol all that hair [covered] up."
After a concerned viewer shared the two Snapchat videos with the local news station, New Vision Academy Charter School's principal, Dr. Tim Malone, said that the teacher in question, now suspended, assured him that she had not done this troubling act "out of disrespect." (As if that makes it OK . . . ?)
But after the student's family got involved, issuing a statement that, "This should never happen," Dr. Malone spoke out again. In a lengthy statement, he informed reporters that the teacher has been suspended without pay. According to Dr. Malone, "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." You can read the letter in full, below:
New Vision Academy is a diverse school. As a school community, we pride ourselves on embracing and celebrating our racial, ethnic, religious and economic diversity. Our students learn, and grow, best when they learn from one another. To foster this environment, all students must feel respected and supported.
The actions depicted in the Snapchat video do not reflect the values, culture or climate of New Vision Academy. New Vision Academy will continue to emphasise 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 staff member in question has been suspended, without pay, and we have had direct discussions with the students depicted in the Snapchat. New Vision Academy apologises for this unfortunate incident, and will be better in the future.
While we've seen some serious advancement in the celebration of hijab beauty, particularly among the blogging and fashion community, clearly there's still far to go in wider acceptance of this religious choice and constitutional right.