The family of a sixth-grade girl who accused three white boys at her private Christian school in Virginia of forcibly cutting her dreadlocks last week said Monday that the allegations were false.
In separate statements released by Immanuel Christian School, where Vice President Mike Pence’s wife Karen Pence teaches art, head of school Stephen Danish and the family of 12-year-old Amari Allen said the widely reported incident was fabricated.
“We can now confirm that the student who accused three of her classmates of assault has acknowledged that the allegations were false,” said Mr. Danish in a statement provided to the Washington Times. “We’re grateful to the Fairfax County Police Department for their diligent work to investigate these allegations.”
The girl, who is black, accused three unnamed white boys of pinning her down, covering her mouth, and cutting some of her dreadlocks while calling them “ugly” and “nappy,” according to media reports.
She also told Fox5 in Washington, D.C., that the boys said she “didn’t deserve to be here” at the school.
Her family issued a statement apologizing to the boys and their parents but did not explain why the girl made up the story, which was widely reported on local and national news outlets.
“To those young boys and their parents, we sincerely apologize for the pain and anxiety these allegations have caused,” said the family’s 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.”
The statement continued: “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. 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.”
The private Christian school in Springfield, Virginia, where tuition is listed at about $12,000 per year, drew headlines after hiring Mrs. Pence to teach art.
“While we are relieved to hear the truth and bring the events of the past few days to a close, we also feel tremendous pain for the victims and the hurt on both sides of this conflict,” said Mr. Danish. “We recognize that we now enter what will be a long season of healing.”
Among those who weighed in on the now-debunked incident was Rep. Rashida Tlaib, Michigan Democrat, who tweeted on Saturday, “You are beautiful, Amari Allen. You are courageous & strong. You are loved.”
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. https://t.co/57rtAYby3h
— Rashida Tlaib (@RashidaTlaib) September 28, 2019
In his statement, Mr. Danish did not say what the consequences would be for the false allegation, but said it showed the school was “not immune” from society’s “deep racial wounds.”
“This ordeal has revealed that we as a school family are not immune from the effects of deep racial wounds in our society,” Mr. Danish said. “We view this incident as an opportunity to be part of a learning and healing process, and we will continue to support the students and families involved.”
He concluded: “We will also continue teaching what we’ve taught for more than 40 years: that the love of God is for all people, and as His children we should demonstrate that love equally to all people regardless of their background, what they believe, or how they behave.”
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