CAIR responds to report of student getting hijab pulled off

- A Coon Rapids student was allegedly assaulted last week at Northdale Middle School, according to The Minnesota chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR-MN).

The student’s family reported to CAIR that a classmate came up behind their daughter, violently pulled off her hijab, and threw it on the ground and then pulled her hair down and now feels unsafe in school and hasn’t returned since the incident.

According to CAIR-MN, School officials did not respond to the incident until Tuesday, despite the fact that the incident was reported immediately by the student and after being contacted by the family on Friday.

CAIR-MN released a statement on Tuesday expressing concern over the lack of response by school officials in Coon Rapids.

"School officials must take immediate actions to ensure that all students, regardless of their faith or ethnicity, are provided a safe learning environment," said CAIR-MN Executive Director Jaylani Hussein. "It should not take days to respond to an apparently bias-motivated assault on a student."

Hussein says CAIR has noted a spike in incidents targeting American Muslims and other minority groups since the November 8 presidential election.

A spokesperson for Anoka-Hennepin School District says information shared by CAIR is inconsistent with the district’s understanding of the incident.

The Anoka-Hennepin School District shared this statement with Fox 9 on Tuesday,

Information shared by the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR-MN) with the media today is inconsistent with the district’s understanding of an incident at Northdale Middle School. Since the district has a positive and productive relationship with CAIR-MN, we immediately reached out to understand concerns and respond appropriately. 

Upon learning of the incident, school officials did promptly reach out to the students and families involved and began an in-depth investigation. Due to data privacy laws, we cannot respond to the specific facts regarding this incident.

It is the policy of the Anoka-Hennepin School District to maintain a learning environment free from harassment, violence, and discrimination based on protected classifications including, but not limited to race, color, religion or national origin.

Our school’s primary concern is to ensure that all students learn in a safe and welcoming environment, free of bias and discrimination.

The preliminary findings of the investigation indicate that this was isolated and not motivated by bias. However, the concerns of the family reflect similar concerns around the metro and align with the need in our communities to find ways to talk about race and culture constructively and respectfully.

The District has an obligation to respond to concerns and ensure our families and students feel safe and welcome.

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