Education loses out in New Haven Muslim student hijab row

A high school graduate in New Haven, Connecticut has caused an online furor by choosing to wear a hijab as part of her dress code. Many on social media have argued that people should…

Education loses out in New Haven Muslim student hijab row

A high school graduate in New Haven, Connecticut has caused an online furor by choosing to wear a hijab as part of her dress code.

Many on social media have argued that people should focus on her education, instead of her hair – and the debate has brought the name of the college she attends into the spotlight.

For many in the community – which has an immigrant population of immigrants from Muslim countries like Somalia and Yemen – the alleged violation of the hijab ban has caused furore.

“We need to move on,” says Deirdre Materazzi. “I don’t want to talk about this. If there are problems, just deal with them as they come. Talk about the thing that we all agree on. Not that we disagree on. Not that we disagree on. That’s not what it is.”

Other students who say they understand the students’ position argue that they are practicing their faith and should not be prevented from wearing it to school.

“I don’t really think the school is violating anyone’s freedom,” says junior Jasira Fikir. “There’s so many things that it’s upsetting me that I’m not able to do that.”

Bria Bloudie was one of several students at Tunxis High School who tweeted about the incident on Friday. She says students were given her number from school administrators, and were later told to “stop abusing” the school.

In her tweet, she wrote that “multiple students were persecuted by our administration and principal.”

She says she has not been contacted by school officials since the incident, but added that it “makes me feel like nothing’s happened. I don’t feel anything’s changing”.

The school’s principal, John Darby, says it was in “complete violation” of the school’s dress code.

The school’s dress code rules state that “necks must not be below your waist, shorts must not reveal cleavage, and shirts cannot expose skin except for the exterior wearing of necklaces, earrings, earrings and belts”.

But it also says that “crowns must never have protruding flowers, bibs must not have a gap between the crown and the front of the fabric or a large dot to fall below the bottom of the front of the fabric.”

Mr Darby says he never intended to take away “any person’s right to wear clothes that express their religious beliefs, which includes head scarves.”

“This was an unfortunate misunderstanding about a student’s religion,” Mr Darby says. “I would hope that everyone forgives Tunxis High School.”

Students and locals are also asking for an independent investigation into the incident.

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