Video circulated on social media this week showing a student wearing a hijab, hiding her face while someone removed the religious head scarf, exposing her hair to the class.
Other students can be seen playing with the girl’s hair as she tries to readjust it.
That video was posted on the social media app Snapchat with the caption, “pretty hair.” It was recorded inside a classroom at the New Vision Academy Charter School in Nashville. A second video was then recorded under the caption, “lol all that hair cover up.”
A concerned viewer sent the recording to News 4 after seeing it on social media, reportedly posted from the teacher’s social media account.
The viewer told News 4 they were upset that the girl was seemingly being told her hair was too pretty to be covered under a hijab.
News 4 showed the recording to Kasar Abdulla, who offers Muslim diversity and sensitivity training in local schools. She shook her head while watching it.
“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,” said Abdulla, who is the chief diversity, equity and inclusion officer for Valor Collegiate Academies.
Abdulla said she was discouraged to see that the incident happened in a school, but not completely shocked.
“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,” Abdulla told News 4.
New 4 went to the school Tuesday afternoon and met with its principal, Dr. Tim Malone. He did not want to go on camera, but quickly began investigating.
Originally, he said the teacher denied making a video and said exposing the girl’s hair was not done out of disrespect.
By Tuesday evening, the student’s family was involved. The student’s mother and sister were outraged after being shown the video and told News 4, “This should never happen.”
“I understand peer-to-peer, student-to-student interactions, but as adults it is our duty to model for them,” Abdulla said. “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.”
New Vision Academy told News 4 on Wednesday that the teacher has been suspended without pay. The principal sent the following statement:
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 emphasize 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 apologizes for this unfortunate incident, and will be better in the future.