It was a tragedy that incensed the nation — a 12-year-old black girl in Northern Virginia claimed that three white boys held her down on a playground at a private Christian school, covered her mouth, and cut off lengths of her dreadlocks.
“They put me on the ground,” sixth-grader Amari Allen told the New York Times in a telephone interview. “One of them put my hands behind my back. One put his hands over my mouth. One cut my hair. They were saying my hair was ugly, that it was nappy.”
Not only did the family take the story nationally and identify the young girl, but they also sat for television interviews. In an interview with WUSA-TV, the girl’s grandmother and legal guardian, Cynthia Allen, was seen with tears running down her cheeks.
The allegation prompted a statement from Chief Edwin C. Roessler Jr. of the Fairfax County Police Department: “We are actively investigating an alleged assault on Sept. 23 at the Immanuel Christian School located in Fairfax County.”
But it never happened.
The alleged racially charged incident was a hoax. A fabrication.
The family of a 6th grader at Immanuel Christian School filed a police report— claiming three white students held her down and cut her dreadlocks. “They put my hands around my back, put their hands over my mouth, and cut my hair.” Watch @ 5 @ABC7News pic.twitter.com/j9QQIQKQW1
— Carl Willis (@CarlWillisTV) September 26, 2019
Citing statements from the family and the principal at Immanuel Christian School in Springfield, the Washington Post now reports the allegations were false.
The statement from the girl’s grandparents included an apology:
“To those young boys and their parents, we sincerely apologize for the pain and anxiety these allegations have caused. 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 statement continued. “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.”
In what amounts to a sigh of relief, Principal Stephen Danish released a statement and sent an email to parents and community members, the Post reported.
“We can now confirm that the student who accused three of her classmates of assault has acknowledged that the allegations were false. We’re grateful to the Fairfax County Police Department for their diligent work to investigate these allegations,” he wrote. “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. We recognize that we now enter what will be a long season of healing.”
Meanwhile, the Fairfax County NAACP wants it to be known that “rare” false claims should not detract from the validity of other racially motivated allegations.
“Too often in these rare instances of fabricated hate crimes, critics use a broad brush to claim racially motivated crimes are virtually non-existent,” the organization stated, according to the paper. “This is demonstrably wrong. Data from numerous sources, including the Anti-Defamation League, the FBI, and the Justice Department, shows bias-motivated crimes are on the rise, year over year.”
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