Across the country, Donald Trump’s election has emboldened those whose bigotry and racism might otherwise have been kept under wraps—like the anonymous students who recently urged their Muslim high school teacher to kill herself.
On Friday, Mairah Teli, a 24-year-old language arts teacher at Dacula High School in Gwinnett County, GA, found a handwritten note telling her that her headscarf “isn’t allowed anymore.”
“Why don’t you tie it around your neck and hang yourself with it off of your neck instead of your head,” the note continued. It was signed, simply, “America!”
For Teli, the impetus behind the message was clear.
“I feel children feel safe making comments that are racist or sexist because of [Donald Trump]” she explained to the Atlanta Journal Constitution.
Dacula principal Dr. Bryan Long seemingly confirmed the threatening note on the school’s website. In a message to teachers and students, Long wrote:
You may have seen a recent news story involving a teacher at DHS. We want you to know that we take any threat against a teacher seriously and are doing all we can to find the student involved and hold them accountable. As we do in Dacula, we will use a difficult situation to bring us together rather than pulling us apart! Let’s rally around Ms. Teli and show her that this note is not America or Dacula. #OneFamilyOneDacula
In an email to the Dacula community, obtained by the AJC, Gwinnett County Schools spokeswoman Sloan Roach reiterated that the district is “doing all it can to identify the person who wrote and left this note.”
Over the weekend, Teli expressed her thanks for the outpouring of well-wishes since the incident was made public.
“I can’t even begin to articulate how touched I am to be receiving messages from all over the country with your support,” she wrote on Facebook. “I want to sincerely thank you for your kind words and well wishes. I feel your support affirms that our country is built on morals of compassion and kindness.”