Mason High School in Mason, Ohio, is facing criticism for canceling an event called “A Covered Girl Challenge,” which was meant to give non-Muslim female students the opportunity to wear a religious headscarf, or hijab, to combat stereotypes and “celebrate diversity.”
The student-led event was sponsored by the Muslim Student Association, but it was promoted by Mason High School’s Student Activities Department. Principal Mindy McCarty-Stewart said that shouldn’t have happened, reports TheBlaze.
She said in an email to students' families, “We will put procedures into place in the future that ensure that any communication from a school email is for a school-sponsored event, and not merely supported by a student-run group... As the event spread beyond our school community, however, we received many strong messages that made me reconsider the event's ability to meet its objectives."
"I now realize that as adults we should have given our students better guidance. After much consideration and after talking with the student event organizers, we have canceled the event.”
Some people criticized the event for making light of Muslim traditions — no different from a non-believer wearing a nun’s habit or a Jewish yarmulke. Others felt the school caved in to bigotry.
Yasmeen Allen, an Iraq native who has two children at the school, said Muslim students were denied the chance to help other students understand what it’s like to face hatred based on religion. "They are American Muslims, and they have a right to be heard just like anybody else," Allen told the Cincinnati Enquirer. "Mason schools have failed miserably in upholding their diversity mission.”
Mason City Schools spokeswoman Tracey Carson blamed the controversy on adults who “got too involved in this process.” She said, "The key there is, it's student-led and student-driven.”
She added students are allowed to freely practice their religion. "But at the same time, we can't promote religion," she said. "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."
Image via Haifeez/Flickr