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NJ Teacher Accused Of Ripping Hijab Off Student Was Trying To Fix Her Hood, Attorney Says

Seth Boyden Elementary School
Seth Boyden Elementary School Photo Credit: Google Maps

A New Jersey teacher accused by a former Olympian of pulling a 7-year-old student's hijab off was just trying to fix her hood, her attorney told Daily Voice.

"This is not a story about a teacher who forcibly removed a student’s hijab," said Samantha Harris, the attorney representing Tamar Herman, a teacher in the Maplewood South Orange school district. 

"This is a story about social media, misinformation, and what happens when people publicize rumors without any knowledge of or regard for the truth."

The story began getting media attention after former Olympic fencer Ibtihaj Muhammad took to social late this week.

"Yesterday, Tamar Herman, a teacher at Seth Boyden Elementary in Maplewood, NJ forcibly removed the hijab of a second grade student," she wrote. 

"The young student resisted, by trying to hold onto her hijab, but the teacher pulled the hijab off, exposing her hair to the class. Herman told the student that her hair was beautiful and she did not have to wear hijab to school anymore. Imagine being a child and stripped of your clothing in front of your classmates."

Harris, however, says Muhammad's portrayal of the story is far from the truth.

"Ms. Herman did not, as has been alleged, forcibly remove a student’s hijab or tell a student that she should not have to wear a hijab," Harris said. 

"In accordance with school policy, Ms. Herman directed a student in her class to pull down the hood on a hooded sweatshirt because it was blocking her eyes – and immediately rescinded that request when she realized that the student was wearing the hood in place of, rather than on top of, her usual hijab.

"The misinformation shared on social media has caused tremendous harm to Ms. Herman – a teacher who, after more than 30 years of devoting her heart and soul to children of all backgrounds, has now had to ask for police protection due to the threats she is receiving following the dissemination of false information on social media."

Muhammad did not immediately return Daily Voice's request for comment on the new information.

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