A Muslim civil rights organization is calling on Pinellas County school officials to investigate a threat it says was made against a sixth-grade Muslim girl at Azalea Middle School in St. Petersburg.
The Council on American-Islamic Relations held a news conference outside the school at 22nd Avenue North and 79th Street North.
Ahmed Bedier, executive director of CAIR’s Tampa chapter, said a student threatened to bring a gun to school and shoot the girl.
Bedier said a boy who had been harassing the girl for about a week ripped off her hijab, or Islamic head scarf. “The teacher saw it,” Bedier said. “It was during class. The teacher told the girl to go fix it in the bathroom.
“The parents didn’t feel the issue was taken seriously enough,” Bedier said. “The parents described the ripping off of a head scarf as similar to somebody ripping a girl’s skirt off. That’s how they see the head scarf, as a part of their clothing.”
Bedier said the girl went to the school principal and asked to be moved away from the boy, who sits next to her in class. “They wouldn’t let her change seats,” Bedier said. “The next day, Thursday, is when he threatened to bring a gun to school and shoot her.”