April 8, 2011

Oh me oh me, Mrs. Y

Hehehe funny...
A'salaamu alaikum ya'll. My stepdaughter Hafsa has had a few issues at her school involving the staff not being particularly sensitive to our religious requirements. (So have the 2 younger ones as well.) As the only Muslims in the school district (that we are aware of, there might be more but they are incognito) we kind of expect a few things and we brush off those that are simply annoying or funny.

The following however does NOT fit the category. Uh-huh not at all. Please read an email I sent to the principal of her middle school. You'll find it interesting, to say the least:

From: ME!

Sent: Friday, April 08, 2011 10:08 AM

To: Mr. Principal

Subject: incident involving my stepdaughter

Hello Mr. Principal, this is _________ Hafa __________'s stepmother. I tried to call you in the office today but I was informed you were out for a morning meeting. As we will be attending prayer service this afternoon, I felt it best to email you so I could inform you of the issue.

(I will try to write exactly as Hafsa related the story.)

Yesterday Hafsa came home and told us that her teacher, Mrs. Y, asked what was wrong with her. Hafsa replied, "My mom won't sign the paper for us to go to Tunisia with my father."

Mrs. Y stated she did not blame Hafsa's mother. She said women do not have rights "over there" and most kids who travel overseas do not return (?). She said (I can't remember if she said Hafsa in particular or just girls) that "They marry them off to old men."

My husband and I are livid that she is equating my husband with this type of personage. Just because he is an Arab Muslim doesn't make him a mysogynistic, opportunistic child abuser. Hafsa often comes home and relates little things Mrs. Y says that do not sit well with us but I do not like to make a big deal over nothing.

For example, one day Hafsa came home and said Mrs. Y told the class, "I am smarter than all your parents". I find this to be an offensively inaccurate statement, spoken out of true ignorance.

Please contact us at your earliest convenience. Although I am aware Hafsa might have accidentally mistated some facts, the gist of the conversation remains the same. Muslim men, including her father, sell their daughters de facto to the highest bidder and are not to be trusted.

We find this to be unacceptable behavior and attitude from any teacher but especially one who works mainly with immigrant students.

Thank you for your time and I look forward to hearing back from you soon. You may call anytime today after 3:00 pm.


ME! ;-)
Please see now Mr. Principal's reply. In the 2 previous issues we've had with the school, he has always instilled the utmost confidence in me with his abilities and he did not disappoint now.
Ms. ME!, I will follow this up before the end of the day and call you in the early evening. I may only have time to gathher minimal information, but am certainly not happy that anything even approaching this conversation might have taken place.


Mr. Principal

Alhamdulillah he appears to be taking this seriously. WE have definitely taken it seriously. One of the issues last year had to do with Hafsa wearing hijab. She had gotten warm (it was summer and there is no A/C in the school) and went to the school nurse. Basically the school nurse told her she should dress lighter and that by covering her head she was asking to overheat. She also questioned why we as her parents allowed her to dress that way. He was very sensitive of our "cultural" issue which I quickly assured him was NOT cultural, but a religious obligation.

Anyway I look forward to his phone call and to what it might bring. This teacher honestly is unbelievably; always making snarky comments, etc.

What would you guys do in this situation? Ma salaama....


ummH said...

Asalaam alaikum sis! Subhanallah that is not right that a teacher said that! I would be livid too! I would not rest until she got a formal warning or something.

Halima said...

Salaamu aleikum-

This is so unfortunate. But alhamdulillah Hafsa has parents who are standing up for her and supporting her.
School can be so difficult for kids anyway,without the fact of being the only hijab-wearing Muslim kid added into the equation. Other kids can be so cruel to their peers who stand out for whatever reason, and it's even worse when a teacher leads the pack, so to speak, by not setting an example of tolerance and compassion.
Your step-daughter must be a very composed, courageous girl with alot of self-confidence, mashallah.
Keep up the good work, Sister!

HijabiMommy said...

I think you handled it perfectly. And I'm so glad that the principal is serious about this issue. What a jerk of a teacher. *SMH*

Nikki said...

You handled it MUCH better than I would have! I am livid FOR you. As a licensed (but presently not practicing) teacher myself I cannot imagine a teacher having the gall to make this type of statement. Part of our training is political correctness...and this even goes beyond p.c. or not, she was talking about Hafsa's father specifically... I am flabbergasted, but alhumdullilah the administration is taking it seriously.

Mona Z said...

I think its so disgusting that a teacher would talk this way. You handled it just right. I hope the teacher gets reprimanded.

Jamilah said...

I agree with another commenter... you handled it really well, I would have been in that school demanding to get it taken care of that second! Ninja fury time!. I was brought to tears just reading what happened to her.

Anonymous said...

You have handled it well I think and en'shallah things will be changed in that school...thats just inappropriate on all levels. Frankly this is one major reason why I have insisted we move back to the a city person I feel more comfortable there on so many levels and do NOT want my son attending school out here in the sticks. There are some other Muslims in the district but they are all undercover Muslims and the diversity is extremely lacking. I prefer he attend a public school in a major city where he will NOT be the only Muslim or the only mixed culture child!

Allahu alim, whats the schooling situation there...anyway you guys can move to a more diverse area?

Umm Aaminah said...

Even though we live in a small town the school is very mixed; there is a large Latin American population here, plus alot of Indians as well.

However, no Muslims. It seems one can be "culturally accepting" without including Muslims in that. Just another double standard.

The funny thing is, Hafsa wasn't too upset about it. She said she felt kind of embarassed but she wasn't angry or sad. Alhamdulillah...

Melissa said...

OMG I can't believe her teacher would talk to her like that, how awful! Seems like she has some kind of ego as well. I hope inshallah the principal will get her sorted out.

Angelle said...

What can I add to that which others have already said? That you are paving the way for others who come after to have a smoother path. I bet your level-headed, proactive response gave Hafsa the confidence to be unflustered about this situation. She knew her parents would protect her and do what was right.

I am sorry that your stepdaughters will be separated from their father and miss out on this wonderful opportunity to be with you all in Tunisia! But in their mother's place, I doubt I would consent to my children's moving overseas without me. Hopefully they can at least spend summers?

Umm Aaminah said...

Angelle, in our case my husband has full physical custody. During the court proceedings, the judge had to insist she take partial legal custody; she told the judge, "I didn't want kids. I want to start my life over." :-(

Since I've been here, she has been a sporadic part of their life at best. She is only trying to make problems. My husband is going to court to get full legal custody as well so insha'Allah they will be going with us. She doesn't want them. :-(

Angelle said...

So sad. I will keep your lovely family in my heart and prayers. I hope it will work out for you all. Bless you.

Muslim Convert said...

mashAllah you are a wonderful stepmother for dealing with the situation so well. You'd think in this day and age with so much education available to people they wouldn't be so stupid. Any teacher who makes false generalizations about any religion or culture would not be allowed to teach my child anymore...I think that if something like this were to happen to my kids down the road, then I would do what you did advise the principal, but if it were possible I'd change teachers

Umm Aaminah said...

Salaam ya'll. We were supposed to meet with the Principal last Friday but my husband had a flu/pnuemonia combo. Miskeen! He was sick for almost 2 weeks and we had to cancel.

Insha'Allah I'll update ya'll with the outcome. Ma salaama....

LostFan said...

What was the outcome?? I need closure on this :-).

Umm Aaminah said...

LostFan... hahahaha! I do too! Well what happened was Aaminah got sick, then A my husband got sick. He had the flu and double pnuemonia. This was when our meeting was scheduled.

Then...... I got sick (again, I know, no biggie there!) and then and then... :-( Anyway we never rescheduled. So there is no closure. Isn't that anticlimatic? LOL

Ahsan said...

i like your blog title :)

Umm Aaminah said...

Thanks, Ahsan, and thanks for dropping by!!!

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