Pasadena ISD employee accused of leaving racist comment about model wearing hijab on Sports Illustrated cover

HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) -- The Sports Illustrated model who made history for becoming the first swimsuit model to wear a burkini and hijab on a cover of the magazine, is now facing some backlash.

Halima Aden, a Somali American model who was born in a refugee camp in Kenya, debuted her cover on Monday.

RELATED: Fashion model makes history by wearing hijab and burkini in 'Sports Illustrated' swimsuit issue

After ABC13 Eyewitness News posted the story on our Facebook page, many viewers left positive and negative comments.

One of the negative comments allegedly came from a social media account belonging to a Pasadena ISD employee.

The person said that they would never support the magazine again because they're "opposed to all religions that want to kill me and my family."

Pasadena ISD released a statement regarding the comment:

"Pasadena ISD does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, religion, gender, national origin, age, disability, or any other basis prohibited by law. Statements made by an employee on their personal time are not made on behalf of the District. When acting as a private citizen, school employees are exercising their First Amendment right to freedom of speech.

When a public employee makes statements pursuant to his or her official duties, the employee is not speaking as a citizen for First Amendment purposes, and the Constitution does not insulate the communications from employment-related consequences. Law prohibits the Board or a District employee from, directly or indirectly, requiring or coercing any teacher to refrain from participating in political affairs in his or her community, state, or nation, and that an employee's participation in community, political, or employee organization activities shall be entirely voluntary. While the District recognizes that Courts have held its employees do not shed their constitutional rights to freedom of speech or expression at the schoolhouse gate, the District has confirmed that the employee was not on duty with Pasadena ISD during the dates/times of the alleged activities.

That said, the District believes the employee has deleted the social media post that sparked this story."


Local leaders with the Council on American-Islamic Relations are calling the attacks disappointing.

"The ignorance of it. We're going in the right direction. We're moving forward," Sobia Siddiqui with CAIR-Houston said.

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