A second-grade Olympic gold medalist claimed that a teacher humiliated a girl in her New Jersey classroom by allegedly pulling down the hijab. Officials said this week that they are investigating the allegations.
Muhammad told her 381,000 Instagram followers that theteacher, Tamar Herman, “forcibly removed the hijab” of the second-grade girl as the “young student resisted. “
The “teacher pulled her hijab off and exposed her hair to the class,” said Muhammad. He competed while wearing an hijab . Herman assured the student that her hair was gorgeous and that she didn’t need to wear a hijab anymore to school. “
Herman’s lawyer, Ronald Ricci said that the teacher did not do anything wrong but declined to discuss any interactions they might have had with the child on Wednesday.
“The versions depicted on social media are 100-percent untrue,” Ricci told NBC News on Friday. “We are confident that, after a thorough and fair investigation, it will be determined that Ms. Herman did not commit any wrongdoing.” “
Muhammad didn’t explain her relationship to the second-grade girl in Thursday’s social media post. The fencer could not be reached for comment Friday either.
Leonard Herman was the ex-husband of the teacher. He claimed that she couldn’t have done such a thing.
“I know my ex-wife and it’s false. Leonard Herman said to NBC News that he knew she wouldn’t do such a thing.
The teacher is the daughter a holocaust survivor who has socialized off-school grounds with Muhammad, according to her ex-husband.
” My wife and I are friends. They go to the gym together.” he stated. “I don’t know why she does this. Ricci reports that “
Herman was placed on leave by South Orange-Maplewood Schools District. Ricci stated that it is a common course of action for tenured teachers in New Jersey to take administrative leave with pay.
A district spokesperson declined to confirm whether Herman was placed on administrative leave but said that she was not in class Friday or Thursday.
“We were immediately made aware of a claim of discrimination. The District takes matters of discrimination extremely seriously,” according to a district statement on Thursday.
” We were notified about the allegations by social media. Social Media is not a trusted forum for due process. Staff members involved have the right to due process before any action can be taken. We must adhere to our legal obligations to protect student and personnel information. “
The Council on American-Islamic Relations of New Jersey stated that it was concerned about the allegations.
“Forcefully stripping off the religious headscarf of a Muslim girl is not only exceptionally disrespectful behavior, but also a humiliating and traumatic experience,” CAIR said in a statement on Friday. “Muslim students already have to deal with bullying from their peers. It’s not possible that a teacher would cause further distress. “
David K. Li is a breaking news reporter for NBC News.