JUNCTION CITY, Kan. (KSNT) – The Geary County School Board met Friday evening to discuss the recent controversy surrounding Junction City High School.
Earlier this week a student claimed she was asked to remove her hijab by a school hall monitor, the principal’s responded by saying the allegations are false.
The story has since made national headlines after a number of students organized a walkout on Wednesday of this week in support of their classmates.
Friday afternoon, Superintendent Reginald Eggleston posted a Facebook Live, saying he’s investigating these allegations.
“We want to get to the facts and we want to ensure parents that we want to create a culture and climate that’s safe where students feel comfortable being themselves,” said Eggleston.
Junction City High School Principal Melissa Sharp out an email to parents on Wednesday, after she peaceful protest. She started it by saying she wanted to clarify any misinformation regarding this situation on social media.
In her email she talked a lot about the school dress code policy, saying its last update was four years ago and it evolves to take into consideration trends, national conference information, and school safety research, according to the email. While some head coverings are against school policy — hijabs are allowed, according to district officials.
“At no time over the last two days (or ever) was any student asked to remove a hijab from their head. Under the guidelines of our student information book and current school dress code, it states the following: The school requests that parents or guardians contact their student’s academy administrator when health, medical or religious reasons require exceptions to the guidelines.”Principal Melissa Sharp, Junction City High School
KSNT News contacted the student who said she was asked to remove her hijab. Her parents did not feel comfortable with her speaking with us in a recorded interview. But when we asked the student over a phone call for comment on the principal’s email stating she’s lying, the student responded back saying she doesn’t know why the principal would say that and maintains she was asked to remove her hijab by a school hall monitor.
The student also claims she talked to Sharp on the day she was told to remove her hijab. The student said Sharp asked her to write a couple of sentences on the purpose of why she wears a hijab, and submit a few pictures of what it looks like to avoid confusion in the future with other school personnel.
The student said she did email principal Sharp a short description describing the importance of hijabs for Muslims like herself. We asked the student if we could see the emailed response, she declined to share it with us.
In Sharp’s email she addressed these claims and a rumor that surfaced on a Facebook post that she asked the student to submit a 1,000-word essay.
“At no time over the course of this incident has any student been asked to ‘write an essay’ or ‘defend their religion.’The communication that was asked of the student (and the family) was to help the respective administrator communicate the needs of the student to impacted parties. (other Principals, hall monitors, teachers) The administrator’s goal was for the student not to be questioned by other adults or peers while on campus. The student, the family, and the respective administrator have had wonderful communicative interactions and continued to do so up until, and even after the protest today. The family and JCHS have worked together collaboratively. This is an important factor for all of you to know.”Principal Melissa Sharp, Junction City High School