New York City education officials have fired a substitute teacher after he reportedly pulled the hijab off an 8-year-old student in the Bronx.
Oghenetega Edah, 31, was working as a substitute teacher in a classroom at The Bennington School in the Bronx at the time of the incident on May 2. Edah was reportedly trying to discipline an 8-year-old student when he ripped off her head covering, hurting her eye in the process, according to a New York Police Department spokesperson.
The student was taken to Jacobi Medical Center for examination and was found to be uninjured.
The New York Daily News interviewed the girl and her family after the incident. “I didn’t expect a teacher to do that to a child,” the student’s father, Mohamed Alzockary, said. “She’s OK right now ... but kids, they’re nervous.”
The NYPD is investigating the altercation, a spokesperson told HuffPost. Edah is not in custody.
A spokesperson at the New York City Department of Education confirmed to HuffPost that the teacher was immediately removed from the school and fired from his position, which he began in January.
The Bennington School did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
This is the latest in a spate of incidents targeting Muslim Americans in recent months. The Council on American-Islamic Relations says it recorded over 2,200 “anti-Muslim bias incidents” in 2016, a 57 percent increase from the year before.
There has also been a spike in classroom bullying and harassment of Muslim students, according to the Southern Poverty Law Center. A number of incidents have involved teachers expressing prejudice toward Muslims.
It is unclear whether Edah acted out of religiously-motivated bias. He has no prior disciplinary history, the DOE spokesperson said.