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Mass. Bar Exam Changes Rule Over Headwear Incident

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SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WGGB) — A Pittsfield woman says the state is changing policies after she was asked to remove a piece of religious headwear while taking the bar exam.

It was a story ABC40 first brought you last week.

Iman Abdulrazzak of Pittsfield says while taking the bar exam, a proctor interrupted her to tell her to remove her hijab.

Policies in place at the time of Abdulrazzak’s exam prohibited anyone from wearing any article clothing atop the head during tests, including the bar exam, over cheating concerns.

Last week, Marylin Wellington, the Executive Direct of the Board of Bar Examiners said that Abdulrazzek was inappropriately interrupted, due to “a regrettable miscommunication” and that her agency was reviewing all procedures following the incident.

Abdulrazzak now tells ABC40 that she has been provided a copy of a letter indicating that headwear for medical or religious purposes will be permitted.

The notice reads:

“Please be advised that the Board of Bar Examiners’ security polices and procedures relative to the Massachusetts bar examination have been changed, effective immediately, to eliminate the requirement that examinees receive approval prior to the exam to wear headwear for religious or medical reasons during the bar examination. This requirement has been removed from all Board of Bar Examiners notices, policies, and procedures will now include the following: ‘Headwear may be worn during the examination for religious reasons or reasons of medical necessity only.’ All bar examination staff, including proctors and proctor supervisors, will be notified of this change in advance of the next administration of the Massachusetts bar examination in February of 2014.”

Abdulrazzak adds that she also has received a formal apology over the incident.


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