Syrian Refugee Hospitalised After High School Beating

A Syrian teen had reportedly been attacked in a high school bathroom and hospitalized with a concussion.

Facebook user Alexis Work posted a video Saturday of a blond girl wearing a lavender sweater beating a 14-year-old student wearing a hijab inside a bathroom at Chartiers Valley High School in Bridgeville, Pa. According to Pittsburgh station WTAE, the girl wanted to vape inside the stall occupied by the Muslim student, who said it wasn’t allowed.

The blond girl said, according to Newsweek, “You’re lucky you’re from another language because I will crush you,” then pummeled the 14-year-old in the head. “I’m not punching you, you punched me first,” yelled the victim. The blond girl continued attacking the student, even as she fell to the floor and screamed, “Leave me alone.”

Work told WTAE that the blond student “is suspended from school until Thursday and has a court hearing on Thursday, in which the school is going to attempt to expel her.”

Work wrote on Facebook, “This is the fight that Chartiers Valley emailed parents about vaguely yesterday. I have been livid ever since I watched it. This isn’t a fight. This is bullying. The person in the fight, who is also friends w me on fb (hey girl), should be ashamed and the person recording too. [Chartiers Valley] definitely should’ve been a lot more clear about what took place bc this is awful. I wish I could’ve been there to help or at least break it up. Share this. Make Chartiers Valley finally do something or this will keep happening.” Work did not respond to Yahoo Lifestyle’s request for comment.

Safdar Khwaja, president of the Council on American-Islamic Relations’ Pittsburg chapter, told WTAE that the video shows only a portion of the attack. He said the victim developed a concussion and was hospitalized at Children’s Hospital.

The girl’s family had reportedly lived in a refugee camp before moving to the United States. “They were fleeing anarchy, violence and the complete breakdown of the social system, governing system so they came to a civilized place and we all assured them this is the most civilized place in the world. To see this kind of violence take place, it’s very disappointing,” Khwaja told WTAE.

Zohra Lasania, the program director of the chapter, tells Yahoo Lifestyle that the assailant has allegedly bullied other students. “[The victim] is the only person in her family who knows English and she’s tried to assimilate. Imagine escaping war and then dealing with something like this?”

Lasania believes the attack was racially motivated. “Why else would a student do this?” she tells Yahoo Lifestyle. Khwaja also told WTAE, “We don’t believe the motive was random and was at the spur of the moment, we believe there was a bias.”

Representatives from Chartiers Valley School District, the high school, and the Collier Township Police Department did not return Yahoo Lifestyle’s requests for comment.

Police Chief Craig Campbell told the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette there’s no evidence the beating was a hate crime, however. “We are taking this incident very seriously, and it is being fully investigated.”

The Post-Gazette also shared a statement from the district that partially read, “Chartiers Valley School District does not condone or tolerate violence of any kind and will enforce consequences to the fullest extent, according to district policies and procedures.”

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