There are three separate TV broadcasts about a story that is a look into the black box of public secondary school education in this country.
According to a letter written by the CEO of Baltimore City Public Schools, Sonja Santelises, three girls assaulted a Muslim student in a school bathroom at the Academy for College and Career Exploration. Dr. Santelises’ letter went on to detail that a temporary staff member locked the victim in the bathroom, where three other girls beat her and pulled her hijab.
This may be a good example of why administrators do not discuss incidents that happen at public schools. Not only does the school have to worry about protecting underage students, but releasing only partial details creates fertile ground for ad hoc explanations to flourish.
For example, the tantalizing detail of an adult’s involvement in locking the bathroom door, trapping the victim inside, leads one to wonder if this was some kind of reprisal. As unlikely as that may be, it would not be the first time a supposed victim was the aggressor. In this broadcast, the Hamas-linked Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) takes the side of an Afghan student who claims that he was bullied. But a look at the accompanying video actually shows what appears to be students standing up to a bully.
Then again, it could be another example of the viciousness that is all too common in schools today. Like this CAIR broadcast that shows a Muslim woman attacked by a small gang of teenage girls in the Bronx.
We just don’t know what happened at the Academy for College and Career Exploration.
But the fact is that Dr. Santelises may have already released too much information. Because her letter was addressed to CAIR, which is now gone public with it.
In her letter, Santelises seems to be inviting CAIR into the school.
Several faculty members are also designing lesson plans for students in the middle and high school to learn about each other’s identities and cultural values. And the School Equity Action Team (SEAT) will continue to meet with their Equity Specialist to co-create an equity action plan that addresses racial inequity in their school and elevates cultural awareness and inclusivity programming.
City Schools also would welcome a collaborative engagement with CAIR around the issues raised in its letter. Please contact me if you have any further questions or concerns.
While we may never know what happened in that school, CAIR’s record regarding children and public schools is clear: they should have no contact with either one.
- A few years ago, CAIR claimed to have video evidence of the most serve case of bullying in the history of the organization. CAIR teased the public with its claims about the video before they showed it. A subsequent investigation found that the video was recorded at someone’s home and had no connection to the school that CAIR was blaming for the assault.
- In her public response to Dr. Santelises’ letter, Zainab Chaudry brings up CAIR’s “Still Suspect” report, saying that the Academy for Career and College Exploration attack was another example of the treatment of Muslim students in public schools. But Chaudry was referring to a 16-year-old Muslim engaging in mutual combat with other students: video evidence clearly shows the Muslima fighting and a security guard pulling her away. CAIR is encouraging unacceptable behavior and characterizing it as an example of victimhood.
- A group of girls assembled outside the prestigious La Guardia High School in New York, claiming that a teacher called one of them “a terrorist.” After talking to the girls for a while, the cameras turn to the CAIR rep. Where did he come from? Was he just walking by? Does the school know CAIR is interacting with their students this way? Do the parents know?
- A very imaginative young woman claimed that she was heckled during her high school graduation speech. CAIR took her side and the media ran with her story, even though there was absolutely no evidence at all that this happened. People who attended the graduation ceremony said she wasn’t heckled and that absolutely nothing happened to her, and that CAIR was dividing the once-peaceful Long Island village of Old Westbury.
- When CAIR discovered that Toms River, New Jersey school board member Dan Leonard was mocking and scoffing at Ilhan Omar and Rashida Tlaib on his personal Facebook page, it demanded his resignation. CAIR claimed that no Muslim student would feel safe with Dan Leonard on the school board. But it was CAIR that was endangering people. When Dan Leonard didn’t move fast enough, CAIR unleashed a torrent of hate against him. School board members and staff were inundated with terrorist threats and vile language over the phone. CAIR did nothing to calm things down when Dan Leonard’s underage daughter became the target of rape threats.
Whenever public schools invite CAIR into the classroom, CAIR uses the opportunity to pursue its agenda, endanger people, and promote itself. And there is no doubt that the portrayal of CAIR in the TV news is what leads otherwise educated people such as Sonja Santelises astray.
“Staff member fired for involvement in attack on Muslim student at Baltimore school,” by Annie Rose Ramos, CBS Baltimore, October 12, 2022:
BALTIMORE — A student at The Academy for College and Career Exploration was beaten and had her hijab ripped off in an attack last month in a school bathroom, according to advocates who say they spoke with the student’s family.
A staff member allegedly helped facilitate the incident by locking the student in the bathroom as she was attacked. That staff member will no longer be employed by Baltimore City Schools, the district confirmed.
Zainab Chaudry, Director of the Council on American-Islamic Relations in Maryland (CAIR) called for a response to the incident in a letter to administrators, Baltimore School Police and the Maryland State Department of Education in early October. The girl’s sister was also allegedly harassed days later.
“The families of these girls fled persecution in Afghanistan seeking a better life, education and opportunities for their children, not expecting that they would be forced to confront a different kind of trauma and violence in our institutions here in the United States,” Chaudry said.
City Schools Superintendent Dr. Sonja Santileses responded to Chaudry in an October 5 letter detailing the actions taken in response to the incident.
The student was adjusting her hijab in a school bathroom on Sept. 16 when at least three girls began punching her head, tore off her hijab, and tried to choke her with it, according to Chaudry. When the student tried to escape, she found the door was locked from the outside.
Chaudry said the attack left swelling and bruising, and that a pin in the scarf scratched her neck.
The injuries to the student, who is a ninth grader, were so severe her parents took her to the hospital. Through a translator, the victim’s father spoke to WJZ and shared his daughter’s medical report that shows a diagnosis of assault and concussion.
Santileses said school police were notified and responded to the school. The district allegedly confirmed to the parents that a staff member was seen locking the door in surveillance footage.
The position and identity of the staff member has not been made available, but the district said they were a temporary employee….