An Ohio 7th grader called a 6th grade Muslim student derogatory names before threatening to bring his father’s gun to school and kill him, The Washington Post is reporting.
Because both the victim and the perpetrator in this case are juveniles, their names have not been released to the media.
At about 2:30 p.m. on December 7, a 7th grade student at Morton Middle School in Vandalia, Ohio, (near Dayton) got into an argument with a 6th grade classmate. The older student, apparently upset with his classmate that he (the younger student) refused to sit down and played his music too loud, called the Muslim student “towel head” and “son of ISIS.”
— The Daily Caller (@DailyCaller) December 15, 2015
As the argument escalated, the 7th grader asked the Muslim student if he (the Muslim student) planned to bomb him, and said that the younger classmate was responsible for “bringing down the towers” on September 11 because he’s a Muslim. Besides the offensive slurs at his religion, the older boy took things a step further: according to a police report of the incident, the older student threatened to get his dad’s gun and kill his Muslim classmate.
Another student who witnessed the altercation reported the incident to school officials, who notified police. The altercation was also recorded on the school bus’ security camera.
At the police station, the 7th grader admitted to getting into the altercation with his Muslim classmate. He denied threatening to shoot him, but admitted when said it was captured on video.
Vandalia Police Det. Jennifer Chiles noted in her report that the 7th grader apparently felt remorse for his actions.
“When I was finished with my interview. I asked him if he wanted to write an apology letter to [the other student], and he said he did.”
Apologies aside, the 7th grader’s alleged actions that day constitute a crime, to say nothing of his alleged violations of school policy. He’s been charged with charges of aggravated menacing and ethnic intimidation, has been given a 10-day suspension, and school officials are recommending expulsion. An expulsion hearing is to be held later this week, according to WHIO (Dayton). In a statement, Vandalia-Butler City Schools Superintendent Brad Neavin said that the safety of his students is his district’s top priority.
“First and foremost in our minds is the safety and security of our students. It is important for our students and their parents to understand we take them at their word when they make these threats. We will treat all threats seriously, taking immediate and decisive action to protect the safety and welfare of our students, staff and community.”
Speaking to the Post, Ahmad Murab, the Muslim student’s father, declined to blame the older student for his actions, saying that the current political climate – and possibly the older student’s parents – convinced him that Muslims are dangerous.
“Call a criminal a criminal; don’t call a Muslim a terrorist. It gets this seventh-grader to think all Muslims are bad. I don’t blame him. You put us in a dangerous situation. I don’t blame the other kid. How does he know about the world? Adults are telling him to call people those names.”
— Bloomberg Business (@business) December 16, 2015
Neighbor Joe Pittman, when interviewed by WHIO, also blamed harsh political rhetoric for anti-Islam sentiment even making its way down to schoolchildren.
“We’re causing a war on the home front when it’s overseas. There’s just no reason,”
Do you think criminal charges and an expulsion from school are an appropriate punishment for threatening to kill another student in a school bus argument? Share your thoughts in the comments below.
[Image via Shutterstock/Christopher Boswell]