Muslim student claims teachers, students made hurtful comments about her religion

Adriyonna Flamer, 14, said she has not been back to school this week, concerned about how her peers and teachers will treat her.

Wednesday, April 13, 2022
Muslim student claims teachers, students made hurtful religion remarks
A student in Dover, Delaware, is now calling out her school.

DOVER, Delaware (WPVI) -- A student in Dover, Delaware, is now calling out her school.

She and her mother, Kristina Sellers, talked to Action News on Wednesday about alleged hurtful comments made about her Muslim religion at Central Middle School.

The girl's mother said she plans on addressing the pain her daughter has had to endure since she started wearing her Khimar to school at Wednesday's school board meeting.

"No matter how many times you tell me what you're going to do, or what compare me to things, I still believe in what I believe in," said Adriyonna Flamer, a Central Middle School student.

Flamer, 14, is overcome by emotion. She told Action News she showed up to school around the start of Ramadan wearing her Khimar for the first time.

"I think my culture is beautiful, and I would never be ashamed of wearing my Khimar because of what other people are saying," she said.

Flamer said she's currently fasting during Ramadan, which she celebrates as part of her Muslim religion.

She stated that one of her teachers told her, "I was too skinny to fast. And if I fasted more, he's not going to see me in class. And the kids, the boys were laughing."

The final straw Flamer says was a comment from a teacher at the end of last week when her mom came to pick her up from school.

"He said, 'Sub-Zero, your mom's here.' I said, 'Why do you keep calling me that?' He said, 'Cause that thing on your head makes you look like Sub-Zero,' and then everybody started laughing," said Flamer.

Sub-Zero is a fictional character from a video game titled 'Mortal Kombat.'

Flamer's mother is concerned about what happens from here.

"How does she go back into the school and learn under these same people who humiliated her in front of so many people?" asked Sellers.

Flamer said she has not been back to school this week, concerned about how her peers and teachers will treat her.

Her mother said she plans to meet with the superintendent Thursday.

The Capital School District's superintendent released this statement:

"Intolerance is unacceptable. Dear Senator Nation, The Capital School District recognizes and values the diversity that represents all members of Senator Nation.

To demonstrate our commitment to advancing a culturally competent district, we have been working with partners and consultants for the past two years on our vision for increasing understanding with staff, students, and parents within the community on how to strengthen equity and cultural competency throughout our schools and community.

The district embraces and acknowledges the significance of inclusion for students and staff to express their religious choice.

On Sunday, April 10, 2022, the statement below was released by my office. "We are aware of an incident which involved insulting remarks about a Muslim student. At no time are these types of remarks acceptable, particularly during the Muslim Holy Season of Ramadan, and there is no excuse for such intolerance."

I have been in communication with the family of the student involved in this matter and various community members regarding co-developing a plan for how we can accelerate our efforts to increase understanding of the diversity that is represented in Senator Nation.

I have and will continue to reiterate that any form of "intolerance is unacceptable" and that the district will continue to address any matters or forms of intolerance by using the appropriate protocols and procedures.

During this time, I want to encourage everyone to temper their actions to ensure demonstration of consideration for the values and choices of all members of our community regardless of race, gender, religion, gender identity, or other factors.

Finally, what has transpired is unfortunate and is not condoned. It is important to stress that all Senator students and staff have a responsibility to ensure that this does not occur again.

As the Superintendent, I am committed to leading the efforts to safeguard everyone's opportunity to engage in self-expression of their cultural values.

I have been consistent in my message that it is the spirit of unity through love that we need now more than ever. Thank you.

In Spirit of Unity through Love, Dr. Vilicia Cade CEO & Superintendent Capital School District."