Tamar Herman, a second grade teacher at Seth Boyden Elementary School in Maplewood, N.J., has been placed on leave pending an investigation. The teacher is being accused of pulling off a student’s hijab. Herman says that the incident did not occur the way it’s been depicted on social media.
On Friday, Olympic fencer Ibtihaj Muhammad accused the teacher of pulling off the hijab and humiliating the young student. She took to Instagram to share her disgust and the post has since gone viral.
In her post, she said “Yesterday, Tamar Herman, a teacher at Seth Boyden Elementary in Maplewood, NJ forcibly removed the hijab of a second grade student. 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. Imagine the humiliation and trauma this experience has caused her. This is abuse.”
Since sharing this news with her over 384K Instagram followers, the post has gone viral and many people are calling for the teacher to be fired from her position. Seth Boyden Elementary has since received hundreds of calls from community members calling for the teacher to be removed.
Tamar Herman has gotten an attorney and a lawyer and is speaking out about the incident. She claims that social media blew the story out of proportion.
Her lawyer, Ronald Ricci said, “The versions depicted on social media are 100-percent untrue,” Ricci told NBC News on Friday. “We’re confident that after a full, fair investigation that it’ll be found that Ms. Herman committed no wrong doing.”
According to the teacher, she had asked the young student to take off her sweatshirt hood, which was in violation of the school’s dress code and covering her eyes. Once she realized that the student wasn’t wearing a hijab under her hood she rescinded the comment.
Herman’s attorney, Samantha Harris, made a statement to ABC 7 News on behalf of the teacher and talked about the pain that these allegations have caused Herman.
She said, “The misinformation shared on social media has caused tremendous harm to (the teacher) – 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.”
The child’s mother, Cassandra Wyatt, said that her daughter is traumatized and that she refuses to wear the hijab or even go to school. Wyatt wants Tamar Herman to face consequences for her actions and apologize to her daughter.
She said that she taught her daughter to view her hijab as her protection, and now the little girl is questioning that teaching. The mother said, “Now she’s asked me, ‘Well, if this is my protection, my teacher took this off of my head.’ So how can you explain to your child?”
Seth Boyden Elementary school has put Tamar Herman on paid administrative leave and is starting an investigation into the alleged incident. According to the school district they take matters of discrimination very seriously and will do everything they can to get to the bottom of this incident.
“The district takes matters of discrimination extremely seriously,” officials said in a statement. “We remain committed to diversity, equity, and inclusion throughout our schools, including providing anti-bias and anti-racism training for all educators in the district on a regular basis.”
Tamar Herman’s ex-husband has spoken out in support of his ex-wife and said that he doesn’t believe she would do something like this. He also doesn’t know why Ibtihaj Muhammad posted what she did, according to him the two women were friendly and even went to the gym together sometimes.