Jewish Organization Commends Headscarf Verdict in OK

May 19, 2004

Source: The American Jewish Congress

On May 19, 2004 The American Jewish Congress reported that they "praised the settlement agreement between a Muskogee Oklahoma school girl, supported by the Justice Department, and the Muskogee Public School District, that will allow her to continue wearing her hijab. On May 7, 2004, AJCongress filed a friend of the court brief in the case of Nashala Hearn v. Muskogee Public School District in defense of Hearn’s right to fairness and equality within the school system.

Although the United States Constitution permits a school to insist that all students go bareheaded, Muskogee had an unwritten exception. It allowed students who had lost their hair for medical reasons to cover their heads. The AJCongress brief argued that, while school officials were to be commended for their sensitivity to children with medical conditions, they could not acknowledge some reasons for allowing head coverings but not religious ones.

'The Muskogee School District saw the inequity in its practice and has, therefore, decided to change its policy,' AJCongress General Counsel Marc Stern said. 'The fact that they also have to implement sensitivity training and publicize the new dress codes is a big step in broadening the minds of students’ knowledge and understanding of other cultures and religions,' Stern added."