HAYWARD (KPIX 5) – A Bay Area teen who said she has been bullied for years and even called a “terrorist” for being Muslim has broken her silence.
“I just feel really scared, I don’t feel like coming to school,” said Nikki Hussein, a seventh grader at Cesar Chavez Middle School.
The 13-year-old recalled an incident that happened at the middle school last Thursday. “This guy in class, he pulled my scarf to the side, or in Arabic we call it a hijab. After that he called me a terrorist. And he asked me twice if you are a terrorist, and I said no,” Nikki recalled.
What’s more troubling, Nikki said she told her teacher, who just told the boy to stop. So she told a second teacher, who reported it to an administrator.
On Wednesday, district and school staff met with her mother.
“We would hope to see how it is that we can work with her in whatever way she feels comfortable,” said area administrator Hector Garcia of the Hayward Unified School District. “To help us deliver a clear message that in our community, in Hayward, we strive to be a safe and inviting and inclusive community.”
The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) said Nikki is one of many Muslim students who have been targeted.
“In our office alone, we’ve received a very sharp uptick in school bullying, teacher discrimination, all sorts of issues stemming from schools all across the Bay Area,” said Brice Hamack of CAIR. “Especially in the 5, 6 months where the political rhetoric has reach really, really scary levels.”
“I want to give a message out to everyone who wears the hijab to not care what other people say,” Nikki said.
Nikki said she will continue to proudly wear her hijab. The district did not say what kind of disciplinary action it took against the boy. But CAIR told KPIX 5 he will no longer be going to this school in the near future.
The district said it has an anti-bullying program in place, but is working to bring in more resources.