An alleged anti-black hate incident at a Washington, D.C.-area middle school that media outlets tried to link to Vice President Mike Pence’s wife was a hoax, the school said Monday.
Amari Allen, 12, accused three white classmates earlier in September of pinning her down and cutting off her dreadlocks during an attack at Immanuel Christian School, a private school in Springfield, Virginia.
“They said my hair was nappy and I was ugly,” Allen, a sixth-grader, told NBC Washington in an emotional interview.
The story received national attention not just because of the attack, but also because the school has a high-profile faculty member: Karen Pence.
The second lady teaches art at the school two days a week.
NBC News and other outlets highlighted Pence’s job at Immanuel, which has come under the spotlight because the school adheres to traditional Christian teachings and reserves the right to expel gay and transgender students.
NBC News lead paragraph reads: “Three sixth-grade white boys at a Christian school in Virginia where Vice President Mike Pence’s wife works cut a black girl’s hair, calling it ‘nappy’ and her ‘ugly,’ the girl says.”
Though there was no allegation that Pence knew of the incident, NBC News reached out to her and the vice president’s office for comment.
Police in Fairfax County, Virginia, also opened an investigation into the incident.
But the school said Allen admitted to fabricating the attack, according to The Washington Post, citing a statement from her family.
“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,” Stephen Danis, the principal at Immanuel, said in a note to parents, according to WaPo.
“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.”
Her family has also apologized in a statement.
“To those young boys and their parents, we sincerely apologize for the pain and anxiety these allegations have caused,” Allen’s grandparents wrote in a statement, according to WaPo. “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.”
Author: Chuck Ross