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At least they stopped short of waterboarding the kid


Time for another snapshot from America in the Age of Trump: A middle school in Long Island, New York, is being sued by the family of a 12-year-old Muslim boy who was targeted for bullying by classmates who taunted him and called him a "terrorist" -- harassment which school administrators allegedly followed up with some bullying of their own, forcing the boy to sign a "confession" that he supported ISIS and intended to blow up his school. Say, did we mention that the boy has severe learning disabilities? Yes, that, too.

You'll want to read the full story at Fusion, but here are the basics of the January 6 incident: Nashwan Uppal, a seventh-grader at East Islip Middle School, was in the school lunchroom when a group of older students began taunting him, calling him a terrorist, and asking him "what he was going to blow up next." Nashwan, who's Pakistani-American and suffers from "learning and communication impairments," tried to move to another table. The bullies followed and kept verbally harassing him, continuing with the hilariously funny comments about him being a terrorist and demanding he tell them what he planned to blow up. According to the lawsuit, he didn't even know what "terrorist" meant, but eventually, in an effort to make the bullies go away, told them he was a terrorist and would blow up a school fence:

Needless to say, this is where the Islamophobic Rage Monkeys will all agree the kid brought everything that followed on himself, because after all, he said he was a terrorist and was going to do terror on the school, right?

Then the school administration got involved, and wouldn't you love to read that the bullies were swiftly punished and referred to counseling for being budding sociopaths? But no, you read our headline, so you know what came next: The day after the bullying incident in the cafeteria, Nashwan was called to the principal's office, where Principal Mark Bernard and Vice Principal Jason Stanton proceeded to give the poor kid the Third Degree, because OF COURSE that's what you do with a kid who's been in special education for seven years and suddenly says something completely out of character for him:

After the vice principal left, Principal Bernard allegedly searched Nashwan's belongings and demanded he sign a confession, which seems like maybe it might be exceeding the authority of a middle school principal. Hahaha, no, we have known middle school principals who would totally do that. (NB: most are wonderful people and would not. But we've all encountered the kind of middle-school tinpot dictator who would.)

The whole time, Nashwan's mother, Ubaisha Amar, who was pregnant at the time, was waiting outside the school to pick him up. The suit alleges the administrators refused to let Nashwan call her, and that they also ignored numerous phone calls and text messages from her asking where he was. The school called the police, who spoke to Nashwan -- again without his mother present -- and allegedly told him "this is bad." After signing the "confession" and being questioned by the cops, Nashwan was allowed to answer his mom's phone call, and she was told to come to the principal's office, where Stanton started in on her, because of course she's a bad mom who raised a confessed terrorist:

Nashwan and his mom then got a free ride in a police van -- lucky for them, not a "rough ride" -- to a police station, where they were released without charge, although police did later drop by their home to search Nashwan's room, including his phone and computer. Eventually the family was told by the police that the "case was closed." Good thing the kid hadn't tinkered with a digital clock. Despite the lack of charges, Nashwan was nonetheless suspended from school for a week for "criminal activity," because of course he was. In its lawsuit, Nashwan's family

is seeking $25 million in damages, alleging that the school violated Uppal’s civil rights and broke state and federal anti-discrimination laws protecting religious freedoms and the rights of disabled people in the way they allowed the child to be treated.

“They knew Nashwan and their own records described his disability, they knew he had severe language issues, communication issues, vocabulary issues, emotional issues, social issues. Those are not my words, those are their words from seven years in the special education department,” David Antwork, the family’s lawyer, told Fusion.

No doubt we'll soon start hearing from apologists for Islamophobia who insist either the school officials were only acting out of the understandable desire to protect the school from Those People, or that the family is lying or exaggerating in order to get a big payout ... and maybe give the proceeds to ISIS. The lawsuit alleges Nashwan and his mother endured "severe and extreme emotional distress, including, but not limited to nightmares, sleeplessness, crying, fear, humiliation and stress,” which really, they should probably not be so upset about, because just think how bad things are back in Pakistan.

If you want a preview of the inevitable wingnuttospehere reaction, just take a look at the comments at Glenn Beck's The Blaze when the initial incident was reported in January, though why you'd read comments at the Blaze if you weren't paid to is beyond us. Everyone there knew for a fact that the story was fishy, because you know how those Muslims all lie.

[Fusion / The Blaze]

Doktor Zoom

Doktor Zoom's real name is Marty Kelley, and he lives in the wilds of Boise, Idaho. He is not a medical doctor, but does have a real PhD in Rhetoric. You should definitely donate some money to this little mommyblog where he has finally found acceptance and cat pictures. He is on maternity leave until 2033. Here is his Twitter, also. His quest to avoid prolixity is not going so great.

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'Miga and Carlos' by Wonkette Operative 'Chica'

It's Father's Day, which means it's time for Yr Dok Zoom and his son to go to brunch and check out the downtown Boise Father's Day Car Show so we can ooh and ah over the very same Corvettes 'n' Mustangs 'n' lovingly-restored classic cars that are there every year, and I will probably once again point at the '68 Beetle converted to run on electricity and say, "Oh look, a Voltswagen!" Traditions matter. (Kid Zoom is 22, so I may also/instead meet him for cocktails later like grown up human people.)

Don't worry about any deep thoughts on the Meaning of Fatherhood here -- we're just going to enjoy the goofy side of dadding, which as far as I'm concerned is the best thing I've done with my time. Especially since my role model for parenting was the unnamed Dad from "Calvin and Hobbes."

As any fool knows, ice rises to the top of liquids because it's cold, and just wants to be closer to the sun so it can warm up. It's all in the book you get when you become a father.

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