Authorities will not pursue criminal charges against a New Jersey teacher who was accused of removing a student’s hijab, PIX 11 reports.
According to the Essex County Prosecutor’s Office, they were unable to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that an actual crime had taken place.
“While we understand that many may find the incident troubling, as prosecutors we have a legal and moral obligation to only bring charges in cases where we believe we can prove beyond a reasonable doubt that a crime has been committed. For those reasons, we will not move forward with this case,” acting Prosecutor Theodore N. Stephens II said.
The alleged incident took place on Oct. 6 at the Seth Boyden Elementary School in Maplewood. Tamar Herman, a second-grade teacher, allegedly removed a hijab from the head of a 7-year-old girl during class.
After the girl’s mother, Zaynab Wyatt, learned of the incident, she pressed to have the teacher fired via social media. When local authorities were notified of the incident, an investigation took place in search of prejudicial misconduct, NJ reports.
Wyatt enlisted the help of attorney Robert Tarver who discovered the school district had similar occurrences possibly linked to discrimination in the past. However, those alleged moments were never addressed.
In response, Herman’s attorney released a statement denying the allegations.
As Tarver dug further into Herman’s work background, it was revealed that the educator had racked up a number of objections over questionable behavior. One alleged incident included showing favoritism to a white student during a separate occurrence. Herman was also accused of flinging a Black student’s water bottle in the trash.
”I never anticipated that there would be a criminal prosecution in the case,” Tarver, a former prosecutor said.
“That requires a different standard,” he added.
Tarver added that he was not surprised that the prosecution’s office chose not to press charges.
“Our position is we will move forward to hold this individual accountable for her actions,” the attorney said.
Wyatt said her daughter has not been back to the school since the incident, according to PIX 11,