A 12-year-old student at Immanuel Christian School, a private K-12 school in Fairfax, Virginia, says three sixth-grade boys pinned her down during recess on Monday and cut off her dreadlocks. "I was about to go down the slide, and the three boys came up and surrounded me," the girl, Amari Allen, told The Washington Post on Thursday. "They were saying my hair was nappy and I was ugly and I shouldn't have been born." Allen, who is black, said one boy covered her mouth, the second grabbed her arms, and the third one cut her hair. All thee boys, she says, are white.
Allen's grandparents, who are also her legal guardians, told the school, and the Fairfax County Police Department is investigating the allegations. Allen said she didn't tell anyone because she feared retaliation, since the three boys had been bullying her all year. When her grandmother noticed her uneven hair on Wednesday, she eventually coxed the story out of Allen. "It's not clear where the teachers were during the horrifying incident that Amari said went on for about five minutes," WUSA 9 reports.
Immanuel Christian said in a statement that it has "a zero-tolerance policy for any kind of bullying or abuse" and is "deeply disturbed by the allegations being made." Allen's family pays $11,500 a year to send her to the school, where she is a straight-A student and violin player, NBC 4 reports. Along with its zero-tolerance bullying policy, Immanuel Christian makes parents sign a pledge that notes students can be expelled or refused admission if they or their parents are found to be "participating in, supporting, or condoning sexual immorality, homosexual activity, or bi-sexual activity." Second lady Karen Pence teaches art part-time at the school. WUSA 9's Mike Wise calls the attack every parent's worst nightmare.
"I felt hurt and angry" about the attack, Allen told the Post, "but I also felt compassion for them because something must have happened to them and that's why they bully."