Burnsville elementary school selling ‘school spirit hijabs’ to students

William Byrne Elementary introduced the new "school spirit hijabs" this academic year.

William Byrne Elementary

An elementary school in the Twin Cities suburb of Burnsville is selling “school spirit hijabs” to students at school events and online.

William Byrne Elementary introduced the new “school spirit hijabs” this academic year. Like the school’s T-shirts, the hijabs are marked with the school logo featuring its mascot, Buster the Bulldog.

Unlike the T-shirts, which cost $10 each, the hijabs only cost $6 each.

KARE reports that the idea originated with Maryan Ali, the elementary school’s “Somali cultural liaison,” who pitched it to a mother who volunteers as the spirit wear coordinator for the school’s Parent Teacher Organization (PTO).

“Every student deserves the opportunity to express their school identity and have that feeling of belonging,” spirit wear coordinator Carla Valadez said, according to KARE. “I was of course so grateful that [Ali] identified this need in the community. I worked with the whole PTO, and this immediately became a very important initiative for us.”

As part of the Minneapolis-St. Paul metro area, Burnsville has a notable Somali Muslim minority.

According to the left-wing Sahan Journal, 15% of students enrolled in the Burnsville-Eagan-Savage School District speak Somali at home, while approximately two-thirds of all students are non-white.

Thus, Somali Muslims have come to exert a stronger pull in positions of influence, such as the school board.

In related news, Faribault Public Schools removed all pork offerings from their school cafeterias for the new school year to accommodate Muslim students. The city of Faribault is estimated to have roughly 4,000 Somali residents out of 24,000 total residents.

“We didn’t have to go through red tape. We didn’t have to shut down the [school board] meeting. We had complete cohesiveness and there is no pork in the menu for the entire Faribault school district. So this is wonderful when the Muslim culture does not eat pork,” activist Tiffini Flynn Forslund said in a video describing the menu change.

“They changed recipes. They would love to hire Somali representation,” she continued. “And so this is just a wonderful, welcoming, culture-competent [sic] to move forward, to graduate kids. When everybody’s happy, eating well, working together, that is a win for the community.”


Evan Stambaugh

Evan Stambaugh is a freelance writer who had previously been a sports blogger. He has a BA in theology and an MA in philosophy.