UPDATE: A 12-year-old African-American girl who claimed three white classmates pinned her down and cut her dreadlocks has admitted the claims were fabricated, her school said.
“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.
Last week, the girl, Amari Allen, told CNN that three white boys at the school in Springfield, Virginia, pinned her to a playground slide.
She claimed the boys held her hands behind her back, covered her mouth and clipped her hair, calling it “ugly” and “nappy.”
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.”
The Allen family also issued an apology in a statement released Monday.
“To those young boys and their parents, we sincerely apologize for the pain and anxiety these allegations have caused,” the Allen family said.
“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 apologize 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.”
SPRINGFIELD, Va. – A 12-year-old African-American girl says three of her white male classmates pinned her down and cut several of her dreadlocks.
The girl, Amari Allen, tells CNN that three white boys at Immanuel Christian School in Springfield, Virginia, pinned her on Monday to a playground slide.
They held her hands behind her back, Amari said, covered her mouth and clipped her hair, calling it “ugly” and “nappy.”
“They were saying that I don’t deserve to live, that I shouldn’t have been born,” she said.
She said one of the boys had scissors, and all three are in her class.
When the bell rang to call students back inside, “they ran off laughing… I just got myself up,” she said.
Amari’s grandmother, Cynthia Allen, said she was “devastated” by Amari’s account.
“I didn’t know that these things still exist,” she said. “We are in 2019 and these are things that I’ve either read about or heard about in my grandparents’ or my mother’s generations. It’s painful.
“She was targeted because she was different. … Words will kill. Words have deep scarring.”
The Fairfax County Police Department is investigating and a police report was filed, spokesman Sgt. James Curry told CNN on Friday. He declined to comment further because the case is ongoing.
Authorities will not release the police report, Curry said. It’s unclear whether there were eyewitnesses to the incident.
All parties involved in the incident will be out of school while police conduct the investigation, the school told CNN.
School officials were “deeply disturbed by the allegations being made” and were in touch with Amari’s family, Immanuel Christian Head of School Stephen Danish told CNN in a statement.
“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,” he said, adding that the school “also reached out to law enforcement to ask them to conduct a thorough investigation.”
Further inquiries, he said, should be directed to police.
Vice President Mike Pence’s wife, Karen Pence, teaches art part-time at the school. It garnered national attention earlier this year when it was revealed that the school has a policy banning gay students and parents.