A 12-YEAR-OLD girl has received widespread support after she said that a group of white classmates cut off her dreadlocks against her will.
Amari Allen, who attends school the private Immanuel Christian School in Virginia, United States, said the three boys held their hands over her mouth as she went to use the slide in the school playground before using a scissors to cut her hair.
In an emotional interview with local news station NBC4 Washington, Allen said: “The boys came up to me, they ambushed me, sort of caged me in.”
Allen, a straight A student, said the boys had bullied her throughout the school year. But she did not tell anyone about the alleged incident until a relative pressed her. Cynthia, Allen’s grandmother noticed that some of her dreadlocks were shorter than others when she was doing her hair and asked her what had happened.
Dewaune, Allen’s grandfather told NBC4 Washington about the impact his granddaughter’s account had on him.
“My heart was just broke. I was just paralysed,” he said.
The three boys accused of attacking Allen have not attended the school since the incident while an investigation is carried out.
Fairfax County NAACP requested the school’s existing policy on racism and bullying.
“Black students are too often the victims of racial bullying that is ignored or handled improperly. Amari Allen alleges she was bullied since the beginning of the school year without any action being taken. According to Amari’s account, the bullying escalated to a brutal, racist assault on a young girl by group of boys who previously harassed her without consequences,” Fairfax County NAACP said in a statement on Facebook.
It added: “Immanuel Christian School must stand up for its students and immediately institute a zero tolerance policy for racism, discrimination, and harassment, especially when it rises to the level of assault.”
Congresswoman Rashida Tlaid, tweeted: “You are beautiful, Amari Allen. You are courageous & strong. You are loved. You see, Amari, you may not feel it now, but you have a power that threatens their core. I can’t wait to watch you use it and thrive. Stay strong.”
“Coming from someone with dreadlocks and love for your skin, you are beautiful Amari Allen. You don’t deserve this. #JusticeForAmari”
Virginia politician Don Beyer said: “This is awful and I’m horrified that it happened anywhere, let alone here.
“I send my best wishes and full support to Amari Allen. No one should have to go through this.”
On Twitter user said: “I want Amari Allen to know that she’s beautiful, she matters, she’s precious and she’s a queen. We’re with you.
Karen Pence, wife of US vice president Mike Pence, is a teacher at the school.
In a statement, Immanuel Christian School said it was “deeply disturbed” by the allegations and had reached out to law enforcement to ask them to “conduct a thorough investigation”.
UPDATE: The school has said Amari has admitted the claims were fabricated.
“We can now confirm that the student who accused three of her classmates of assault has acknowledged that the allegations were false,” Stephen Danish, head of Immanuel Christian School, said in a statement Monday (September 30).
Amari’s aunt Lakeisha Allen said the family is “devastated.”
“We are so embarrassed, and we are so sorry,” Allen told CNN. She said her niece did have a verbal dispute with the boys but “embellished the story.”
“To those young boys and their parents, we sincerely apologise for the pain and anxiety these allegations have caused,” the Allen family said in a statement.
“To the administrators and families of Immanuel Christian School, we are sorry for the damage this incident has done to trust within the school family and the undue scorn it has brought to the school.
“To the broader community, who rallied in such passionate support for our daughter, we apologise for betraying your trust. We understand there will be consequences, and we’re prepared to take responsibility for them,” the girl’s family said.
“We know that it will take time to heal, and we hope and pray that the boys, their families, the school and the broader community will be able to forgive us in time.”