‘He Pulled It So Hard’: 2nd-Grader Claims Teacher Forcibly Removed Her Hijab, Put Her in the Hospital

As any parent or teacher knows, kids are liable to act up every once in a while — and the classroom is no exception.

It was a situation that one New York public school teacher was faced with in early May when 8-year-old Safa Alzockary reportedly started misbehaving in class.

As PIX11 reports, however, the way that this substitute teacher handled the situation has not only prompted a police investigation, but left the girl badly shaken and with an injured eye.


According to police, the incident occurred on May 2, when the second grader refused to get out of her substitute teacher’s chair.

In response, the teacher, 31-year-old Oghenetega Edah, allegedly grabbed Safa’s hijab — a Muslim religious garment that women often wear to cover their hair and neck — and ripped it off of her head.

As Safa explains:

“I said, you can’t see my hair. He said, ‘I’m going to take this off, if we were misbehaving.’ My sister said you can’t. I said you can’t because if you did, I will tell the principal.

And he just started laughing and he took it off … He pulled it so hard.”

According to police, Safa’s right eye was injured in the scuffle — warranting a trip to Jacobi Medical Center — though doctors say that there will be no permanent damage.

Nonetheless, the girl’s father, Mohammad, told New York Daily News that the incident has left him and his family shaken:

“I didn’t expect a teacher to do that to a child.

She’s OK right now … but kids, they’re nervous.”

On Thursday, Safa’s situation prompted New York State Education Commissioner Betty Rosa to issue a call for increased anti-bias and diversity training among school staff.

Michael Aciman, a spokesman for the Department of Education, called the incident “completely unacceptable,” adding that the teacher “was removed from the school immediately and his employment has been terminated.”

Though the police were called and are investigating, Edah has reportedly not been arrested.

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