Our friends over at Above the Law recently shared the story of a Muslim bar candidate who was handed quite the passive aggressive note (excessive underlining always makes it so) in the middle of her exam requesting she stash her hijab under her seat for the afternoon portion of testing.
Everyone knows that things like hats, hoods, scarves, and visors are not allowed to be worn during the bar exam. But religious headgear, like Sikh dastars and Jewish yarmulkes, is permitted, as long as special written approval has been obtained before the test from a state’s board of bar examiners.
When there’s a miscommunication somewhere along the line, things don’t always go as planned. Yesterday, a proctor in Massachusetts passed a distasteful note to a Michigan Law graduate of Muslim faith during the morning essay session. We have a copy of that note…
It seems that this bar examinee was wearing a hijab, a scarf meant to cover the head and chest, and she had received prior permission from the Massachusetts Board of Bar Examiners to wear it for religious reasons. Nevertheless, a proctor interrupted her with this note while she was taking the exam:
[passive aggressive note]
“Headwear may not be worn during the examination without prior written approval.”
According to the woman, she did receive such approval prior to appearing for the exam. When Above the Law reached out to the Massachusetts Board of Bar Examiners, the board called it "an unfortunate miscommunication" and said the woman was allowed to wear her religious garments for the remainder of the day.
We asked on Twitter if you guys have had a similar experience at Prometric and since no one responded, we're going to take that as a no. Prometric expressly forbids outerwear and hats but as in the case of the bar candidate above, a hijab is not a fashion statement like an ugly beanie or a trucker cap (who still wears those anyway?).
Under CPA exam testing regulations, Prometric does not specifically mention religious headwear, though oddly enough, it is mentioned in detail on the FINRA policies and procedures:
Religious items such as head coverings, Rosary beads, Kabbalah bracelets, etc. are permitted in the testing room after being visually inspected by the Test Center Administrator (TCA). Similar to any other clothing or jewelry, any religious items allowed to be worn in the testng room must remain on your person at all times. Removed religious apparel must be stored in your locker.
We were not able to speak to a Prometric representative as they never return our calls (gee, I wonder why?) so we're asking you, GC faithful, to share your experiences in the comments.