A school in Mason, Ohio has released an apology after the creation of “The Covered Girl Challenge” in which the school encouraged girls to wear a hijab as part of a cultural awareness activity.
The event was canceled before it had taken place by Mason High School principal Mindy McCarty-Stewart, who issued an apology after receiving numerous complaints from concerned parents. Some argued that the event endorsed the Muslim religion, while others felt it mocked the religious group.
“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,” one-time local school board candidate Sharon Poe told the Enquirer. “What happened to the argument of the separation of church and state?”
Poe added that many women around the world who wear the headscarf on a daily basis are not treated well by men. “My belief is wearing these hijabs represents the oppression of women and Sharia law.” Poe fought against the district almost 10 years ago when Muslim students had been allowed to participate in their own fasting lunch hour during the month of Ramadan.
However, not all parents agreed that the day should have been cancelled. Supporters of the event said the principal “caved to bigotry.”
Muslim students “were robbed of an opportunity” to champion Islam “and they have a right to be heard just like anybody else,” irate parent Yasmeen Allen, a native of Iraq, told the Enquirer.
The day was meant to increase awareness pertaining to stereotypes, celebrate diversity and “promote open mindedness,” according to McCarty-Stewart.
While a letter had been sent home to parents notifying them of the day, as well as a permission slip enabling girls to take part in the day, school officials remain insistent that the event was sponsored by the Muslim Student Association on campus, writes Eric Owens for The Daily Caller.
According to Mason City Schools spokeswoman Tracey Carson, student groups hold events at the school all the time. However, in those cases, they are student-driven. She said that the school’s mistake in this case was to become too involved.
She added that while schools should allow their students freedom of religion, “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.”