New Jersey

NJ Student Arrested After Pulling Off Girl’s Hijab, Shouting Anti-Muslim Slurs During Fight: Prosecutors, Superintendent

The two girls got into an argument because both of them wanted the same seat in a common area on campus, the East Brunswick Public Schools superintendent said

What to Know

  • A New Jersey high schooler was arrested after she allegedly pulled off another student’s hijab and screamed anti-Muslim slurs during a fight
  • The East Brunswick High School girl got into an argument with another girl on because both students wanted the same seat
  • A school security officer broke up the fight, but not before it was caught on video. The video was posted to social media

A New Jersey high schooler was arrested after she allegedly pulled off another student’s hijab and screamed anti-Muslim slurs during a fight that was caught on video and posted to social media.

The East Brunswick High School girl, whose name and age weren’t released, got into an argument with another girl on Wednesday because both students wanted the same seat in a common area on campus, East Brunswick Public Schools Superintendent Victor Valeski said in a letter sent out to the school community.

As the fight escalated, one of the girls pulled off the other girl’s hijab and started screaming anti-Muslim slurs at her, the superintendent said.

A school security officer broke up the fight, but not before it was caught on video. The video was posted to social media at some point after the fight.

“Ultimately, the fight was determined to be a bias incident and was immediately reported to the East Brunswick Police Department and the County Prosecutor’s Office in accordance with Board Policy… and the law,” Valeski wrote.

The student who pulled off the girl’s hijab was arrested and charged with simple assault, harassment, cyber harassment and disorderly conduct, Middlesex County prosecutors said.

“The East Brunswick Public School District values our diverse student body and community,” Valeski wrote. “The District does not tolerate any incidents of bias, discrimination, harassment, intimidation or bullying and takes swift action if such an event occurs.”

It wasn’t immediately clear if the student would be charged as a juvenile or an adult.

Hundreds of students and parents showed up at a school board meeting held Thursday evening to discuss the attack, with many expressing outrage over the fact that the Muslim girl who was attacked was suspended under the school's zero-tolerance policy. 

"Why is she being suspended for defending herself?" one student asked.

The boy who filmed the video was also suspended — a punishment both he and his mother said they felt was unfair.

"I got in trouble for it because I guess it's against the school rules, but... at the end of the day I did the right thing," the boy told News 4.

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