Fairfax Co. student says classmates cut her dreadlocks in racist attack

Update (Sept. 30): Fairfax Co. student admits she made up claim that classmates cut her dreadlocks; school confirms

A black sixth grader at a Fairfax County, Virginia, private school said she was attacked by white classmates who then cut her hair while taunting her with racist insults this week.

Amari Allen is a student at Immanuel Christian School in Springfield, and she said the incident happened during recess Monday. Allen alleges that three white classmates attacked her on the playground and pinned her down against a slide.

“They put my hands behind my back, put a hand over my mouth and they tried to cut my hair,” said Allen. She said the students were calling her hair “nappy” and “ugly” while that was happening.

Over the next two days, Allen said she didn’t tell anyone about the experience.

“When I held it in, I felt like a weight was being added to my shoulder each day,” Allen said.

Eventually, Allen’s family went to the school and got Fairfax County police involved.

“We are actively investigating an alleged assault on Sept. 23 at the Immanuel Christian School located in Fairfax County,” Fairfax County police Chief Ed Roessler said in a statement Friday. He didn’t, however, add any details of the case or investigation.

Allen’s grandmother, Cynthia Allen, said school leaders at Immanuel Christian aren’t doing enough in response.

“I never thought about bullying being part of this curriculum,” said Cynthia Allen. She said she is making the case public and pushing hard on school leadership because she wants to make sure “that no other child has to experience what she (Amari) experienced…”

In a statement, Immanuel Christian School said school leaders are “deeply disturbed by the allegations.”

Immanuel Christian School has issued a statement saying, “We take the emotional and physical well-being of students” seriously, citing a “zero tolerance” policy on bullying.

The statement goes on to say, “We are deeply disturbed by the allegations” and that the school is working with the Allen family to gather more information and provide support.

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