A teacher at the New Vision Academy Charter School in Nashville, Tennessee, was suspended Wednesday after two videos circulating on social media of someone removing a girl's hijab was traced back to the educator.
In the first video, which is captioned "pretty hair," the student wearing the hijab is shown hiding her face as someone removed the religious head scarf and exposed her hair to the classroom. Multiple students are seen playing with the girl's hair as she tries to readjust the covering. Someone told her "her hair was too pretty to be covered." A second video was posted with the caption, "lol all that hair covered up."
A concerned viewer sent the videos to News 4. Both of the clips were reportedly posted on the teacher's Snapchat account. When contacted by the media, the principal, Dr. Tim Malone began investigating immediately.
The teacher initially denied recording the video and said touching the hijab was not done out of disrespect. The girl's mother and sister were very upset after they watched the video, saying, "This should never happen."
In a statement to the news station Wednesday, Malone wrote that the teacher was suspended without pay:
"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."