Md. teen says she was benched because she wears a hijab

The referee made the decision right before the start of the game.

GAITHERSBURG, MD (WUSA) - A Gaithersburg teen says she was unfairly benched during her high school's regional championship game because of her hijab.

Watkins Mill junior Je'nan Hayes wears a head scarf as part of her Muslim religion. Hayes says it is extremely important to her to keep this part of her religion.

On March 3rd, during her team's most important game, she was benched. Her coach, Donita Adams says that a ref told other coaches that the head scarf is not allowed according to the National Federation of State High School Association's rule book.

"I cried, it was a mix of emotions, I was speechless," said Hayes.

RELATED: Nike to launch ‘Pro Hijab' for Muslim women athletes

Thursday night, the Maryland Public Secondary School Athletic Association gave us the following response:

“There should have been no denial of participation and we are committed to working with the school and the family to ensure this does not happen again.”

Hayes is working with Muslim civil rights group Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) to try to get the rule overturned.
 

© 2017 WUSA-TV


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