Bar Exam

Muslim woman taking bar exam endures miscommunication about her headwear


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Corrected: As she was taking the Massachusetts Bar Exam on Thursday, a Muslim woman was handed a note by a proctor informing her that she would have to remove her hijab because prior written approval of religious headwear is required, the legal blog Above the Law reports.

The unnamed woman, described as a graduate of the University of Michigan Law School, was taking the exam at the Western New England University School of Law. The Massachusetts Board of Bar Examiners does require prior permission for religious headwear such as yarmulkes, Sikh dastars and hijabs.

Above the Law ran a photo of the note handed to the woman during the exam’s morning session, written in pencil, informing her about the prior approval requirement, stating that she had not done so and instructing her to “please” remove the headwear and place it under her seat for the afternoon session.

The woman apparently had gotten the appropriate approval by Monday. During lunch she contacted the bar office to get it straightened out with the proctor and apparently it got done. Above the Law contacted the Massachusetts Board of Bar Examiners executive director, Marilyn Wellington, who said it was “an unfortunate miscommunication” that was “corrected as soon as we were made aware of it.”

The Muslim woman’s story has been shared hundreds of times on Facebook. Above the Law tried unsuccessfully to reach her.

Updated to state that the incident happened Thursday and that the woman had received approval for her hijab Monday.

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