A Muslim advocacy group is urging Baltimore County Public Schools to immediately notify parents and guardians of alleged hate crimes after a sixth-grade girl said another student tried to yank off her hijab between classes last month.
Zainab Chaudry, Maryland chapter director of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), called on the district to implement “systemwide written policy changes that require school officials to immediately notify parents or guardians” of alleged hate crimes after a mother complained that Franklin Middle School failed to call her about the Nov. 19 incident in Reisterstown.
“This investigation is definitely not complete,” Ms. Chaudry told The Washington Times.
The school system’s communications office emailed a statement to The Times on behalf of Franklin Middle School.
“Baltimore County Public Schools does not condone or tolerate bullying, harassment, or intimidation by any student in any of its schools,” the statement reads in part. “The incident in question was reported to the school on Friday, Nov. 19, and as per school and system policy, an investigation was begun immediately. That investigation has continued into this week.”
Annie Torres, a mother of six, said a female student wearing a full-face balaclava mask tried to yank off her sixth-grade daughter’s headscarf between classes on the Friday afternoon before Thanksgiving.
“This is bigger than a school incident; it was an attack on her identity as a Muslim,” Mrs. Torres told The Times.
Mrs. Torres said she reached out to the school several times starting on Monday after the incident, but an administrator did not call her until last Sunday.
She said the vice principal in charge of sixth grade told her in that telephone call that he had been unable to identify the alleged assailant from video surveillance footage or from a lineup of students suspected to be in the stairwell at the time.
During the alleged attack, her 12-year-old daughter swung her hand to protect herself and ran off, Mrs. Torres said.
Correction: This article has been updated to clarify the timeline of events.