The parents of a seven-year-old boy said he was bullied and thrashed by at least five students on his school bus as they made references to Muslims and his Pakistani origin.
“These are six and seven year old kids calling him names, with one kid punching him in the face, while two other kids attacked him, kicked him, and held his arms back,” said Dr. Zeeshanul Hassan Usmani, Abdul Usmani’s father. Usmani described his son as “as American as you could get.”
He went on to say that his wife and three sons had already left the US for Pakistan following the incident and long history of discrimination towards the family.
“They keep beating him all the way from school to home on the bus,” Usmani elaborated as he talked about his son’s ride home from Weatherstone Elementary School in Cary, North Carolina, last Friday. The boy is traumatised after the attack and is suffering from a strained arm, he added.
Meanwhile, a spokesperson for the Wake County Public School System Lisa Luten told BuzzFeed News that the principal of the school initiated an investigation into the incident.
“[The principal] interviewed seven students sitting near this child, and none of the students, nor the bus driver, witnessed any type of altercation or incident,” Luten said.
The spokesperson added that the principal was to interview one more child at the school but added that he had not been able to get in contact with the family since Friday.
When told about the boy being discriminated, Luten claimed that “When [the family] originally shared the information, they did not share any info about religion or race, and just that their child was bullied.”
Usmani, 38, first came into the country from Pakistan as a Fulbright Scholar and currently works at a Sillicon Valley data software company as Chief Technology Officer.
Usmani revealed that his family had faced harassment by a neighbour for months because of their religion and even one of his sons was called a terrorist. He claimed that his son’s fellow students earlier attempted to force feed him food after finding out he only ate Halal food, meat slaughtered as per the Islamic law.
“Times are changing and it’s not the America we always thought of and believed in. It’s not the America that I studied in,” Usmani said. “If [Donald] Trump wins, America will be great again, but a great that nobody will care about,” he said while referring to the Republican presidential nominee.
“All of these events, by the neighbors and everything skyrocketed since the beginning of the presidential campaigning last year. That’s why I’m coming back from Pakistan to empty my apartment [in North Carolina] and wait and see what happens,” Usmani maintained.
According to a report by the Council on American-Islamic relations, 55 per cent of Muslims pupils in California had reported some form of bullying on the basis of their religion. School bullying of Muslims has escalated dramatically as high as twice the national average, it added.
The article first appeared on Buzz Feed News