NJ school district admits mistake after dismissing claim by Muslim girl that bully called her ‘ISIS’ on Snapchat

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WOODBRIDGE, N.J. -- A young Muslim high school student was recorded without her knowledge and then saw her image on snapchat with the word ISIS below it.

The snapchat went out in June of this year.

The student in it is Saira Ali, then a high school senior at Colonia High School in Woodbridge New Jersey. Yes, she is a young Muslim American who happens to wear a traditional Islamic headscarf, a hijab.

A member of ISIS, however, she is not.

Months after the blatantly hateful post, Woodbridge Central School District sent Ali, now a Rutgers freshman, a letter saying the district found no evidence supporting a claim of harassment, intimidation or bullying.

Angered, Ali took to Facebook and shared her account of what happened and the school district's response.

Today, the district is changing its tune. Superintendent Robert Zega said there was miscommunication. His office was flooded with emails and messages, so Zega decided to sit down exclusively with PIX11 to tell us he and the district made a mistake.

"Not only is it harassment and bullying and intimidating, but it's hateful. It's biased and it's ignorant," explained Zega.

When we asked why there was a letter saying nothing occurred Zega said the school district nor the police department could determine who the actual offender was. Zega said the district was met with several challenges.

While a student was found to have the video on their phone and subsequently punished and suspended, officials could not definitively identify who posted the Snapchat.

In a now revised letter to the Ali family, the district said "Although the investigation did not identify an offender, the district found evidence supporting a claim of harassment, intimidation and bullying,"

As for any criminal investigation, the Woodbridge Police Department tells PIX11 there was no doubt the culprit behind the post could face harassment charges. As a matter of fact, police officials said they identified a student, but further action can only be taken by Ali.

"It's awful. I barely slept last night. It's making me sick that regardless of the investigation, the letter, the correspondence. The fact that it happened, that sent a tremor through the district. That somebody could do this and we want to make sure people understand that we don't tolerate this," said Zega.

Zega insists if anyone comes forward with any new information behind who is responsible for the Snapchat, he will reopen and investigation and the culprits will be punished.