A middlebury, Vt., school is facing criticism for barring a Muslim girl from its classes.
A Muslim student at Middlebury Middle School was told by administrators that she could not attend the Friday morning English class on the school’s campus, the Hartford Courant reported.
A school spokesperson told the Courant that Middlebury had made a decision to prohibit the student from participating in classes because the school does not allow “unwelcome religious activity.”
Middlebury Middle Schools spokesperson Mary Lefebvre said the decision was made after a Muslim friend of the student complained about being treated differently because she was Muslim.
The friend, who wished to remain anonymous, told the newspaper that Middlebrooks principal made a presentation to the students Thursday, where it was discussed that she was asked to remove her hijab.
Lefemvre said Middlebrook was not obligated to remove the hijab, but said she would do so if she felt it would be better for students.
Middlebrooks superintendent of public instruction Dan Dominguez did not return messages for comment.
Middlebury, a predominantly white town of about 9,000 residents about 30 miles south of New York City, is a liberal arts school with a reputation for diversity.
It has been named to the National Education Association’s list of Top 25 High School Public Schools for the past two years.
Middlefield Middle School is home to more than 1,500 students and has a total enrollment of about 1,400.
The American Civil Liberties Union of Vermont and the American Civil Rights Union of New Hampshire are suing the school district over its handling of the Muslim student, the Courants reported.
The ACLU said the student was barred from attending the Friday classes and threatened with expulsion.
The ACLU of Vermont said it is considering filing a federal lawsuit in New Hampshire state court.