MALDEN, MASS. (WHDH) – Malden community members voiced their concerns to school officials in a meeting Tuesday after a student received a uniform violation for a hijab at the Mystic Valley Regional Charter School.
“They made me feel like I can’t really practice my religion here,” said one community member, “I don’t feel comfortable.”
“All those little girls and all those women out there, and anyone of faith, remember to be proud of who you are,” another community member said.
The school admitted its handling of the situation “came across as insensitive,” and it wants to use this as a “learning opportunity” to improve its policies.
“Shortly after I reached out to the family to try to correct it, it was immediate,” said George Warren, chairman of the Mystic Valley Regional Charter School.
This isn’t the first time the school has been criticized for its uniform rules.
In 2017, two sisters, who are Black, were punished for wearing braided hair extensions. The young women later helped the “Crown Act” become law in Massachusetts, banning discrimination based on hairstyles.
That progress is why local faith leaders say it’s important to address these issues.
“It’s been causing hurt in our community for a long time and I’m glad that we have a family that was comfortable and safe enough to speak up,” said Nichole Mossalam, an advocate for the Muslim community who attended the meeting Tuesday.
The school said it’s not typically within its policy to give out citations for religious head coverings and issuing that letter was a misuse of uniform rules.
The school is now reviewing its policies.
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