MAPLEWOOD, NJ — New claims are being made against a Maplewood elementary school teacher accused of forcibly removing the hijab of a Muslim student.
The incident, which allegedly took place two weeks ago at Seth Boyden Elementary School, sparked an ongoing investigation and a firestorm, with many calling for the firing of teacher Tamar Herman.
The longtime teacher, who has been with the south orange-Maplewood school district for three decades, has denied the claims.
An attorney for the Wyatt family, whose 7-year-old daughter Sumayyah is said to be traumatized by the incident, on Thursday unveiled a series of documented complaints lodged against Herman.
One incident happened on Oct. 6 – the same day the alleged hijab removal occurred.
“This same teacher forcibly snatched a water bottle from another Black student and threw it into the trash,” family attorney Robert Tarver said at a press conference Thursday.
An e-mail obtained by Tarver — which PIX11 News could not independently verify as authentic — shows the exchange between the parent who complained and the school principal, followed by an apology issued by Herman.
Another alleged incident happened back in April 2017, when Herman allegedly sided with a white student during a situation when classroom snacks were mixed up; Tarver says a Black student‘s snack was wrongfully given to the white student.
“It’s important that we make sure that you understand the attended facts of this incident and others that may have been like it,” Tarver explained.
The Wyatt family attorney released the findings from what he calls his own examination of the case to push back against a statement issued by Herman through her attorney last week claiming that the young girl was not wearing a hijab, but rather a hoodie on the day of the alleged incident.
A part of what they called new evidence was a sketch the attorney said was from another student who witnessed the now-infamous Oct. 6 incident.
Traver is now urging other parents to come forward.
“I would ask any parent who has been a student of this teacher who has any issues, contact my office, contact us because it’s important that we get to the root and the bottom of what is going on here,” he said.
An attorney for Herman did not respond to PIX11 News’ request for comment.
In responding to the claims of discipline and personal matters, a spokesperson for South Orange Maple school district said they are obligated to abide by confidentiality.