A 12-year-old girl who accused three sixth-grade boys of pinning her down and cutting her dreadlocks has admitted to school officials she was not attacked and cut her own hair, her family's attorney and the school said.
Amari Allen, a sixth-grader at Immanuel Christian School in Springfield, Virginia, said three white classmates ambushed her on the playground last week and used scissors to cut off some of her dreadlocks while telling her her hair was "nappy" and "ugly."
She and her family met with school officials Monday morning to apologize.
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The girl maintains she has been the victim of bullying, Daniels said. The family is seeking counseling for the girl.
“Everybody is incredibly sorry that this all went down the way that it did," family attorney Michael Daniels said. “They’re starting to look at a path forward, and that involves a lot of counseling and therapy and open discussion.”
"To those young boys and their parents, we sincerely apologize for the pain and anxiety these allegations have caused," the family said in a 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."
During the investigation of the girl's accusations, security camera video showed where people were at the time of the alleged attack, the family's attorney said, and it became clear the girl's account could not be true based on the day and time she said it happened.
“We just started to find little pieces that weren’t adding up,” Daniels said. “So as we continued to, you know, kind of press through this and we started to look at the tapes, we started to look at the statements and we actually asked Amari about it and she finally just kind of said, ‘Yeah, I made that up,’ and that’s very tough. It’s a tough position to be in, but now we’re looking at is more, well why did this happen?”
"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," the school said in a statement. "We recognize that we now enter what will be a long season of healing."
It is unclear is the girl will return to the school, and if so, will she be disciplined.
Statement from Immanuel Christian School:
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.
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.
This ordeal has revealed that we as a school family are not immune from the effects of deep racial wounds in our society. 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.
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.
Statement from the family:
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. 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.