The family of a Coon Rapids middle school student reported to the Minnesota chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations that their daughter, who is Muslim, had her head scarf 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 Anoka-Hennepin School District issued a statement Nov. 15 saying that information in CAIR-MN’s press release “is inconsistent with the district’s understanding of an incident at Northdale Middle School.”
The district responded promptly and is conducting an investigation, according to spokesperson Jim Skelly.
“School officials must take immediate actions to ensure that all students, regardless of their faith or ethnicity, are provided a safe learning environment,” CAIR-MN Executive Director Jaylani Hussein, said in a press release. “It should not take days to respond to an apparently bias-motivated assault on a student.”
It did not take days to respond, Skelly said.
Additionally, “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.”
Skelly said that in general “there’s been an increase in tension and conflict between students after the election.”
The district is committed to maintaining safe and welcoming communities, he said.