Students at a high school in Virginia were outraged after a female student’s hijab was pulled during an alleged attack by a fellow classmate.
A male student named James Nygaard launched a violent attack on Ekran Mohamed at Fairfax High School after she apparently bumped into him with her backpack. According to multiple reports, there also seems to have been a verbal exchange that took place before the physical attack wherein the male student, as well as a few others, were called out for their offensive drawings during a marketing class. Mohamed and Eliza Gill, who was an eyewitness at the scene, initially confronted the boys for drawings that referenced Muslims and George Floyd but decided to back down after the boys got agitated with them.
The events that followed were shocking.
“My backpack bumped into him, and then he got mad, and he pushed me, and he grabbed my hijab,” Mohamed said. “So I punched him in the stomach because he wouldn’t let go. And he threw me across the room and I hit my whole left side on the chair and desk.”
The student said she had trouble breathing and when an ambulance was called, she was not transported to a hospital quickly. Gill told news outlets that her classmate only received medical attention later on when she went to a clinic under the guise that she was having a “panic attack.”
And if the attack wasn’t bad enough, the school’s response has been slammed as “inadequate” after they suspended both students for a day and later, decided it would be best to sit them together in the same room.
Speaking on an Instagram Live, Mohamed recalled the memory: “They put me in a room with him, they took my phone, and I told them ‘I’m gonna call my mom.’ My mom said call…so she knows what’s happening. They didn’t call my mom. And they gave us assignments to do.
“I could barely even think about math when the person that attacked me was sitting right across me. It was disgusting. I couldn’t even eat lunch or anything. I couldn’t even drink water because he was sitting right there,” she continued.
The incident was never reported to FCPS initially, and the school failed to release any comments until the story started garnering global attention. This was sparked after 350 students got together to protest their school’s response.
Posting to Twitter, the Fairfax Police Department said that even though they were now “actively investigating” the altercation, it was already determined that it was “not a hate crime.”
But comments from other students beg to differ, with one even telling local news outlet WTOP News, that the student in question “did not face any trouble and is currently still threatening other students.”
In a different statement released by the county’s school board, they acknowledged the protests saying: “350 students at Fairfax High School exercised their right to protest following an incident between two students that took place in school on Tuesday afternoon. The school is conducting an investigation into the incident and no further details can be shared at this stage as administrators work to establish the facts. Fairfax County Public Schools and City of Fairfax Schools support the rights of students to peacefully protest.”
According to Muslim Girl, the reason behind the lack of action taken against Nygaard was influenced by the fact that his parents work for Fairfax County Public Schools.
“I was disappointed but not surprised [about the incident],” said Fairfax senior Hiba Abdelgalil, a Sudanese-American Muslim. “The school isn’t doing much to avoid it.”
“It makes me feel out of place even though I’ve been here all my life,” said another Fairfax High student Hussein Hamdan. “It wasn’t surprising whatsoever. I mean, I’ve been living in this county, I’ve been going to Fairfax every year of high school. The hate is so prominent.”
We hope Ekran Mohamed gets the justice she deserves.
This is a developing story and will be updated accordingly.