Afghan student recovering from violent attack at Baltimore school
An Afghan teen, who came to the US with her family last year for a better life, is recovering from a brutal attack by several students from her school in the city of Baltimore.
The attack occurred last month in a locked school bathroom, where the perpetrators severely beat her, causing a concussion and bruising to the neck, including puncture wounds from the pins of her hijab, which they forcibly removed.
"She could have lost her life," Zainab Chaudry, director of the Council on American-Islamic Relations in Maryland, which is assisting the family in this case, told The New Arab. "She is back in school. But even being back in that space, walking the hallway, she has anxiety and fear. She was very worried about missing classes. Her siblings and parents are also still recovering from the trauma."
This was one of three similar attacks, with two of the assault victims from the same family, reported recently at the same school, the Academy for College and Career Exploration (ACCE), a secondary school in Baltimore, that were brought to CAIR's attention that appear to be related, Chaudry said. She spoke with the local news about the incidents, as she tries to raise awareness of the importance of addressing bullying. The identities of the students are being withheld because they are minors.
Such culturally specific assaults are concerning for civil rights advocates given the large community of Afghans living in the Mid-Atlantic area, many of whom arrived just one year ago and are still trying to get their bearings. Based on incidence reports, she said such attacks appear to be on the rise.
"We want to make sure they get access to culturally competent counselling and be in a safe environment that every child is entitled to," Chaudry said.
"Our legal team is working with the family. At the end of the day, we want to make sure justice is delivered," she said. "We're not calling on charges to be pressed against the students. We want restorative justice. We want to make sure the students understand that what they did was egregious, and to make sure nothing like this ever happens again."