Muslim Dacula teacher, GCPS respond to hoax accusations

Mairah Teli

Mairah Teli hopes to put the incident behind her even as some have questioned the legitimacy of the letter she received, referring to it as fabricated or even a hoax.

Teli wrote a third Facebook post late Monday about receiving a threatening hand-written note last week that said she should tie a headscarf around her neck and hang herself with it. Over the weekend, Teli, who is Muslim and a teacher at Dacula High School, and her principal each noted the community support and response to the incident.

But some people on social media questioned the legitimacy of the note, and if Teli acted honestly.

“There is nothing new to report in regards to the status of the investigation and as we have maintained from the beginning, we have no reason to suspect the note is a hoax or was fabricated,” school district spokesman Bernard Watson said.

In her post on Monday, Teli asked for privacy and said she would decline to make any further statements to local or national media and “never sought to seek the national or international spotlight.”

“To those who question the legitimacy of this incident, I am not sure that there is anything further that I can say or do to prove to you that this occurred,” she wrote. “I shared this incident on my Facebook page with family and friends to raise awareness regarding the social climate of our community. As an educator, I firmly believe in community service and strengthening our communities, which can only be done by acknowledging the problems that we face and then standing together to confront them.”

Teli added that she never thought the post would receive so much attention and begin a “global conversation.” But said she would encourage the conversation regarding tolerance, and has been overwhelmed by this experience.

“My family and I are praying that something good can come from this experience for our communities and our country, and we can move on from it better than we were,” she wrote. “I understand that there are those who will always question the truthfulness of what they see or what they hear, but I can only rely on God, the best of Witnesses, to be my witness.”

Teli originally wrote late last week that she received the note on Friday.

“Why don’t you tie it around your neck & hang yourself with it,” the handwritten note said. It was signed “America!” and had two American flags drawn on the paper.

Teli took the anonymous note as a response to last week’s presidential election, and referred to the campaign of President-Elect Donald Trump.

“As a Muslim, I wear a headscarf as a practice of my faith. I want to share this to raise awareness about the reality and climate of our community. Spreading hate isn’t going to ‘make America great again.’ #DonaldsAmerica #NotIntimidated #HereToStay #LoveTrumpsHate”