Local teen pushes for change after hijab controversy

PHILADELPHIA (WPVI) -- A local high school basketball player who was benched for refusing to remove her hijab has been granted special permission to play. However, she's now a part of a push for change.

16-year-old Nasihah Thompson-King was benched over the weekend because she didn't have a waiver to wear her religious head covering.

She was back in the game Wednesday after the Pennsylvania Interscholastic Athletic Association approved it.

Nasihah is a student at Mastery Charter Schools' Shoemaker Campus, and is now part of the push eliminate the need for the PIAA to approve anything worn on the head for medical or religious purposes during a game.

It's been a long-standing rule that schools and teams have been aware of for years.

On Friday a civil rights lawyer from CAIR -- the Council on American Islamic Relations -- and the school's principal started the movement to reverse this policy, calling it prejudiced and unconstitutional.

"For her to wear her hijab and have to sign a waiver to do so is discriminatory and inherently targeting her and other students and PIAA should amend policy or do away with it altogether," said Philadelphia Civil Rights Attorney Timothy Welbeck.

Nasihah also shared her thoughts.

"It means change is coming and it's coming very rapidly and I am very happy about that," she said.

The school says there was a breakdown in communication over filling out that paperwork last week, but that they were aware of it.

So far, the PIAA says it stands by its policy.

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