Tamar Herman: Teacher gets death threats after Olympian's 'fake' story of her pulling off girl's hijab
Tamar Herman, an elementary teacher, has claimed that the accusations against her are false
An elementary teacher from New Jersey is getting death threats after allegedly being "falsely" accused of pulling off a student's hijab in the middle of class. Ibtihaj Muhammad, an Olympic medal-winning fencer, took to social media to claim that elementary school teacher Tamar Herman 'forcibly removed the hijab' from second-grader Sumayyah Wyatt's head. Herman subsequently began being threatened and had to seek police protection, her civil rights attorney Samantha Harris claimed.
"The misinformation shared on social media has caused tremendous harm to Ms Herman — a teacher who, after more than 30 years of devoting her heart and soul to children of all backgrounds, has now had to ask for police protection due to the threats she is receiving following the dissemination of false information on social media," Harris said in a statement obtained by Patch.
Last week, Muhammad took to Instagram and wrote to her 3,84,000 followers, "Herman told the student that her hair was beautiful and she did not have to wear hijab to school anymore. Imagine being a child and stripped of your clothing in front of your classmates. Imagine the humiliation and trauma this experience has caused her."
Sumayyah Wyatt's mother, Cassandra Wyatt, told ABC7 that the accused teacher must 'pay' for her actions. "She had to know that was a hijab," she said. 'She has to pay for that. I'd love for her to apologize to my daughter, and then my daughter would feel better. I have to go introduce her to a different world that I've been trying to protect her from."
The mother said that she taught her daughter that her hijab is her protection. "Now she's asked me, 'Well, if this is my protection, my teacher took this off of my head.' So how can you explain to your child?" she said. The family's lawyer has said that the incident is 'incredibly disturbing'.
Harris, however, has dismissed the accusation as untrue and unfair. "The false narrative being pushed by activists is quickly turning this veteran teacher's life upside-down," she said on Twitter. This is not a story about a teacher forcibly removing a student's hijab. This is a story about the power of social media to spread misinformation and destroy lives, and about the 'shoot first, ask questions later' approach to journalism."
The false narrative being pushed by activists is quickly turning this veteran teacher’s life upside-down: https://t.co/GJakMVq4Qx— Samantha Harris (@samk_harris) October 10, 2021
Harris has claimed in her statement that Herman was only trying to help a student whose hood apparently obscured her vision. "In accordance with school policy, Ms Herman directed a student in her class to pull down the hood on a hooded sweatshirt because it was blocking her eyes – and immediately rescinded that request when she realized that the student was wearing the hood in place of, rather than on top of, her usual hijab," Harris said.
Herman is now placed on leave and is under investigation. Her attorney Ronald Ricci said. "The versions depicted on social media are 100-percent untrue. We're confident that after a full, fair investigation that it'll be found that Ms Herman committed no wrongdoing," Ricci stated.