SPRINGFIELD, Va. — Three sixth-grade boys are accused of pinning down a fellow classmate — a 12-year-old girl — on the playground and cutting her locks because they are “nappy” and “ugly.”
Amari Allen said she has never been more traumatized in her life until Monday when she said a group of white male classmates attacked her on the playground at Immanuel Christian School, a private K-12 school, in Fairfax, Virginia.
Amari tells WUSA9 that one boy covered her mouth and the second boy put her hands behind her back, while the third boy pulled out scissors and cut her medium-length locks while calling her names.
Allen’s family pays nearly $12,000 a year for Amari to attend the private school where Vice President Mike Pence’s wife, Karen Pence, teaches there twice a week.
The school outlines a strict no-bullying policy in their parent-student handbook, that, in part, states:
“ICS holds to four fundamental guidelines for social interaction among students. All ICS students are encouraged and expected to:
- Never leave anyone out by deliberately excluding them from the group.
- Never harm others intentionally with words or actions.
- Never tolerate bullying by ignoring it or allowing it to continue.
- Always report bullying to the classroom teacher.
Accordingly, we define bullying as: The deliberate use of power to dominate, intimidate and harm another person physically and/or emotionally over an extended period of time with no significant provocation or justification.”
“They kept laughing and calling me names,” Amari said, as tears poured down her face. “They called me ‘ugly,’ said, ‘I shouldn’t have been born.’ They called me ‘an attention-seeker.'”
The ordeal happened during recess on a sliding board. On Thursday, the entire playground was surrounded by caution tape as Allen’s family spoke to the administration.
“They ran off laughing, and I was just sitting there,” Amari said.
The soft-spoken preteen didn’t tell her family what happened until Wednesday — two days after the incident when her grandmother, Cynthia Allen, noticed a difference in the length of her hair.
“It’s very painful,” Cynthia Allen said. “I want to see them dismissed from the school. I want to see something done.”
Amari initially denied that anyone cut it for fear of retaliation. When Allen continued to ask questions, she broke down crying and told them the truth.
It’s not clear where the teachers were during the horrifying incident that Amari said went on for about five minutes.
Immanuel Christian School released a comment about the investigation, which reads:
“We take seriously the emotional and physical well-being of all our students, and have a zero-tolerance policy for any kind of bullying or abuse. We are deeply disturbed by the allegations being made, and are in communication with the family of the alleged victim to gather information and provide whatever support we can. We have also reached out to law enforcement to ask them to conduct a thorough investigation, and further inquiries should be directed to the Fairfax County Police.”
WUSA9 Anchor/Reporter Mikea Turner went to the school and made several follow-up calls to see how the allegations are being handled. The school responded with above statement.
It was not Amari’s first encounter with the same three classmates. She said she’s been bullied by the same boys for some time. They take her school lunches and call her names, Amari alleges.
he family met with school officials Thursday morning to address the matter. It’s unclear what consequences, if any, would be passed down to Amari’s alleged attackers.
Stay with WUSA9.com for more on this developing story.