Second hijab incident allegedly occurs Dec. 16

Victim says incident wasn’t religiously motivated, administration says policy was properly followed


Principal Scott Meyers adresses students during an open forum on race relations in C350 Nov. 15. During the forum many students, mostly those of color, expressed that they did not feel safe while at school.

By Ethan Brown, St. Louis Park High School

After a second incident involving the pulling of a hijab allegedly occurred Dec. 16, Principal Scott Meyers said the administration took steps to ensure policy was followed appropriately while handling the investigation.

“We were aware of the incident. We interviewed both students and then we met with the families (Dec. 16) to discuss what had happened,” Meyers said.

The victim, a senior, said the incident occurred while talking to friends in math teacher Meredith Webster’s third hour study hall.

“I went to go use the bathroom and I go to this class my friends (are) in,” the victim said. “Some kid came in, and that kid bothers me way too much, and I gave him too many chances. So he was standing by me, and I told the two girls in Somali, ‘if this kid talks to me today, it’s done, because I’m not in the mood.’”
The victim said the perpetrator, a freshman, pulled the bun of her hair, which caused her hijab to slide back, after she complained about his walking into the class.

“Right when I said that he came and grabbed the (bun in my hair) and my neck flew back,” the victim said. “He pulled on the bun, and the hijab’s on top, so basically it slid back. It just slid all the way (back), and I had to fix it.”

The victim said she believes the incident was not related to her religion, and added she thinks the alleged perpetrator has a mental illness.

“No (it wasn’t related to religion). I wrote down on one of the papers (I used to report the incident), I said ‘I think this kid has some type of mental issue,’” the victim said. “Today I was told that he (does have a mental issue).”

The victim said teachers in the B3 hallway helped calm her down before she returned to her class to report the incident to math teacher Kristin Johnson.

“Then (math teacher Anson Opara), (English teacher Jodi Hatzenbeller) and (Webster) and that whole hallway came out, all those teachers came out and tried to cool me down,” the victim said. “I just, like, walked away from them, and went in my class in Ms. Johnson’s room (and) slammed the door. I told her what happened. She gave me a pass and (I) went to the principal’s office.”

The victim said she then reported the incident to the principal’s office, where she later spoke to police liaison Max Peltolta.

“I reported it, and then the police talked to me (and) asked me if I wanted to press charges,” the victim said. “I said ‘No, I don’t want to take it that far, but (I) need him to know that’s not OK.’”

According to the victim, the alleged perpetrator admitted to grabbing the victim’s hair bun, which resulted in her hijab sliding back.

The victim said she spoke with Meyers alone and then spoke with Meyers and Superintendent Rob Metz together. She said she had a third meeting with her father and Meyers.

The victim said she believes the alleged perpetrator’s parents were also called to the school.

“I’m pretty sure (the perpetrator’s parents were called in), because he’s not here anymore,” the victim said. “I think he was sent home. (Meyers) told me he was sent home.”

The victim said she and the alleged perpetrator didn’t meet for mediation the day of the incident like students involved in the Nov. 14 hijab incident did, but said she hopes to in the future.

“If I want (mediation) to happen he has to want it, too. (It may happen) next time we see each other,” the victim said. “I told them I do want to talk to him and get my point across.”

Meyers also said if both students agree, students may meet for mediation in the future.

“The students did not meet (Dec. 16). There may be a meeting in the future if that’s desired,” Meyers said.
Echo will continue to investigate the Dec. 16 hijab incident and update this story as more information becomes available.

Read the original story here.