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MapleBear preschool says police now involved in English teacher’s hijab-related rant

Coconuts logo Coconuts 14/6/2021 Coconuts Singapore
a house that has a sign on the side of a building: The school’s center at Bukit Timah. Photo: MapleBear The school’s center at Bukit Timah. Photo: MapleBear

The police are looking into allegations that a teacher was asked about taking off her hijab for a role at the MapleBear preschool centre. 

The school confirmed this on Saturday after someone who claimed she was applying for a role as an English teacher at the Canadian school wrote on Reddit about being asked to remove her hijab as per the school’s “uniform code.” The school has refuted her claim, saying that there was no such restriction on its teachers, who also include “quite a number” of Muslim staff donning the hijab, it said. 

“We would like to clarify that MapleBear Preschools welcome teachers of all races and religions and our uniform code does not restrict the donning of the hijab/tudung,” the school said in an online statement Friday, before updating it to say that the police were involved. 

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The Reddit rant was published last week by a user known as Listentotheinternet. In it, the person wrote about being interviewed by someone in a director’s role when the question about her hijab came up. According to her, the centre director had asked if she was “okay to remove” her hijab for work. When prodded on the motive of that question the director reportedly said, “because the school has a uniform code to follow to.”

“My hijab has never been in my way to educate the young ones, and I am sure it is the same for any other hijabi teacher,” she wrote in the rant. “I am angry that an organisation that has so much to do with childrens’ outlook of life themselves hold such backward policies.”

The name of the person who interviewed her was not disclosed.  

Neither MapleBear, which has nearly 40 outlets in Singapore, nor the Redditor immediately responded to Coconuts’ requests for comment. 

The Redditor later updated her online post to say that the interviewer had contacted her to clear what appeared to be a misunderstanding. Apparently, the person was “just asking” her in order to find out what the teacher would be wearing to work, nothing more. 

“In any case, how else should a hijabi feel when her interviewer [asks] if she’s OK to remove her hijab for work?” she wrote.

The hijab issue has been a pain point for many Muslim women in the workforce in Singapore. For a state that prides itself on racial and religious harmony, Muslim women looking to work in uniformed occupations, including nursing, have not been able to don the hijab.

This article, MapleBear preschool says police now involved in English teacher’s hijab-related rant, originally appeared on Coconuts, Asia's leading alternative media company.

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