At an Ohio high school, the principal canceled a student event that claimed in the name of diversity it was offering girl students a chance to wear the Muslim headscarf, or hijab, on April 23.
On Thursday, Mason High School principal Mindy McCarty-Stewart emailed an apology to district families, after public furor over the even had grown. She wrote:
As the event spread beyond our school community, however, we received many strong messages that made me reconsider the event’s ability to meet its objectives. I now realize that as adults we should have given our students better guidance. After much consideration and after talking with the student event organizers, we have cancelled the event.”
She admitted that allowing the school’s student activities department to promote the event was a mistake.
Sharon Poe, a former school board candidate, pointed out to the Cincinnati Enquirer that many women wearing the hijab around the world had been treated badly by men, saying, “My belief is wearing these hijabs represents the oppression of women and Sharia law,” adding that the event would be promoting Islam over other religions. Poe similarly fought against the district nearly ten years ago when educators allowed Muslim students to have their own fasting lunch hour during Ramadan.
Mason City Schools spokeswoman Tracey Carson told the Enquirer that student-led groups create events for the school all of the time, adding, “The key there is, it’s student-led and student-driven. In this case, I think, honestly, where we messed up is because adults got too involved in this process.”
She said the schools must let the students freely practice religion, but she acknowledged, “at the same time, we can’t promote religion, and I think by us having the permission slip (for the Covered Girl event), by adults having sent the email, I think we crossed that line.”
Poe concluded, “I do not recall ever getting an email announcing a Christian Cross Wearing day or a booth for information about the Christian persecution from Islamic terrorists. What happen to the argument of the separation of church and state?”