Days after President-elect Donald Trump’s won the presidency, a Muslim high school teacher in Georgia found a chilling note in her classroom.
“Your headscarf isn’t allowed anymore. Why don’t you tie it around your neck & hang yourself?”
Mairah Teli, a language arts teacher at Dacula High School in Gwinnett County, uploaded an image of the anonymous note on her Facebook account on Friday. It is unclear who it was written by, or whether the writer was a student or teacher at Teli’s school.
The letter was signed “America.”
In a Facebook post about the incident, Teli wrote that she decided to share the note online to raise awareness how the political climate is affecting American Muslims.
“As a Muslim, I wear a headscarf as a practice of my faith. I want to share this to raise awareness about the reality and climate of our community,” Teli wrote in the the post. “Spreading hate isn’t going to ‘make America great again.’”
Islamophobia has been on the rise in this country for quite some time, but some activists have expressed fear that Trump’s victory could further embolden those who want to incite hatred against Muslims and other minorities. Since Election Night, the Southern Poverty Law Center has collected reports of more than 200 incidents of intimidation and harassment from news reports, social media, and direct submissions through their website ― although not all of these have been independently verified.
In the days since the election, several Muslim women claimed they were victims of attacks. Others debated whether or not they should continue wearing the hijab, a religious head covering.
Sloan Roach, a spokeswoman for Gwinnett County Public Schools, confirmed to The Huffington Post that a note was found in Teli’s classroom on Friday morning. Roach said that the school’s resource officer was informed about the incident and that the school is currently investigating what happened. She also said that Teli has been receiving support from the Dacula school community.
“A threat against a staff member is a serious matter,” Roach wrote in a statement. “The school is doing all it can to identify the person who wrote and left this note.”
Corporal Dean Washington, a spokesperson for Gwinnett County police, told The Huffington Post an official police report has not been filed regarding the note.
"The school system has their avenues for investigating internal matters and they also have a police department," Washington told The HuffPost. "However, if Gwinnett County Police Department is requested to assist in any criminal matter we will assist."
On Saturday, Teli wrote on Facebook that she was confident that the high school was taking the appropriate steps to handle the incident. She also said that she was “overwhelmed and deeply touched” by the support she’s received from people around the country. Students at the school have also been collecting cards and letters of encouragement to give to the teacher.
“I feel your support affirms that our country is built on morals of compassion and kindness,” Teli wrote in her post.