MINNEAPOLIS – The Minnesota chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations is calling out a north metro middle school for what it calls a “lack of response” following an alleged incident where a Muslim girl’s hijab was pulled off.
The girl had her headscarf forcibly removed by another student and thrown to the ground at school Nov. 11, according to a press release from the organization.
Once the girl’s hijab was on the ground, her classmate pulled her hair so that it fell down in front of other classmates, the release states.
The girl has not returned to Northdale Middle School, where she feels unsafe, according to the release.
The girl’s family reports that the incident happened Friday at Northdale Middle School in Coon Rapids, CAIR-MN says, adding that the school didn’t respond until Tuesday.
“School officials must take immediate actions to ensure that all students, regardless of their faith or ethnicity, are provided a safe learning environment,” said Jaylani Hussein, the executive director of CAIR-MN, in a statement. “It should not take days to respond to an apparently bias-motivated assault on a student.”
The Anoka-Hennepin School District, of which Northdale is a part, released a statement in response to CAIR-MN’s accusations, saying that the story the group presents is inconsistent with the district’s understanding of the situation.
The district says that Northdale officials started an in-depth investigation promptly after hearing about the incident. Citing data privacy laws, however, the district didn’t detail what happened, only saying that it was was an isolated incident and not bias-motivated.
"The preliminary findings of the investigation indicate that this was isolated and not motivated by bias,” the district’s statement reads. “However, the concerns of the family reflect similar concerns around the metro and align with the need in our schools and communities to find ways to talk about race and culture constructively and respectfully.”