Update: Controversy Over the Headscarf Nears Resolution in OK

May 14, 2004

Source: News OK


On May 14, 2004 News OK reported, "A settlement on a lawsuit involving a Muslim girl suspended twice for wearing a head scarf awaits approval of the Muskogee School Board, court records reflected Thursday.

Nashala Hearn, an 11-year-old sixth-grader at Ben Franklin Science Academy, was suspended twice in October for wearing the religious scarf, or hijab, to school.

The Rutherford Institute, a Virginia-based civil liberties group, sued the school system on behalf of Hearn, claiming the district violated the girl’s rights to free speech and free exercise of religion.

Court records in the U.S. Eastern District of Oklahoma show the agreement is pending approval of the school board and the matter should be resolved in about seven days.

School officials said the head covering violated a school dress code that bars bandannas, hats, caps or other headwear in an effort to halt gang-related activity.

Nashala has been allowed to wear the scarf while the case has been pending."