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Juvenile Justice

Sixth Grader Charged with Hate Crime in Recess Scarf Incident

Posted Apr 1, 2011 8:41 AM CDT
By Debra Cassens Weiss

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A sixth grader in New York City is facing a juvenile hate crime charge after he was accused of trying to rip off a Muslim girl’s headscarf during recess.

The boy “was all obnoxious smiles and obscene gestures” as he was brought into court on Thursday, the New York Post reports. The Post and the New York Daily News reported he was 11 years old, while the Associated Press said he was 12.

The boy’s harassment of the girl was not an isolated incident, according to the prosecutor. In a previous attack, the boy allegedly said, “Aren't you the Muslim girl we beat up? We'll beat you up again.”

The Daily News describes the boy as a "pint-size perp" who is said to be “out of control" at school.

The boy’s father, Frank Davies, sobbed in court, according to the Post account. Davies said the boy came to the United States when he was six months old after being born in a Sierra Leonean refugee camp. The boy’s mother is Muslim. Davies has bought an airline ticket to send the youth back to Sierra Leone.

The boy’s smiles were gone and his eyes welled with tears when a Staten Island judge ordered that he be held without bail, the New York Daily News says.

Both the Post and the Daily News interviewed the Muslim girl allegedly victimized by the attacks, who said she feels sorry for the boy. "I'm not really sure if he was doing it because I was a Muslim, or just because he was trying to have fun," she told the New York Post in a separate story.

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