Field Trip for Religious Freedom

By Mira Soni

Haja Bah and Fatmata Mansaray, seniors at Freedom High School in Woodbridge, Virginia, were sent home by their principal on Thursday after they were unable to produce permission slips stating that they could wear hijabs in school.

The two girls were approached in the hallway by a school administrator and asked to show signed permission slips from their parents proving that the hijabs were being worn for religious reasons. When neither girl had one on hand, they were sent to the principal’s office and ultimately released from school for the rest of the day.

In an interview with InsideNova, Mansaray says that she is often harassed by school administrators about her hijab.

“I would explain that it’s for a religious purpose, and they didn’t care,” Mansaray said in an interview. “I’d wear my hijab to school, and I’d be constantly told to take off my hijab.”

School administrative leaders have since issues apologies, and Prince William County Public Schools released a statement in response to the event.

“This situation spotlights a regrettable inconsistency between our official policies and beliefs, and the reality of how things are sometimes done. That inconsistency will end. We are committed to using this incident as an opportunity to ensure that respect for diversity, religious freedom and self-expression are practiced and evident every day and at every school.”

According to Prince William County school division spokesman Phil Kavitz, no disciplinary measures are currently being considered for the Freedom High School administrators.

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