A 13 year old girl and a 12 year old boy have been arrested in Staten Island for what NYPD have labeled a “bias attack” on a Muslim classmate. Both have been charged with a hate crime for picking on a 13-year-old schoolmate at the Dryfus Intermediate School. The children allegedly called the girl a terrorist and teased her about her religion; the victim also claims that the boy threatened to rip off her hijab.

While there should be no tolerance whatsoever for bullying, I can’t say I feel comfortable with the idea of children being arrested for this sort of behavior. These kids should absolutely be punished for what they’ve done, but I think there should be some steps taken before handing this over to the police.

Don’t get me wrong: I am highly critical of Islamaphobia and I see a mounting danger in this country’s growing intolerance for members of the faith. I also think that the school district and the police should be commended for taking action; there are people all across this country who would have allowed this behavior to continue without doing anything to protect the young victim. However, I just wonder why school administrators didn’t try to handle this in house without creating criminal records for two children who’ve committed acts of bullying that were cruel, yet not nearly as vicious or harmful as other cases we’ve heard.

Kids can be merciless; they’ll tease classmates about race, body type, height, income level, family, academic performance and anything else you can think of. However, few of these cases make their way to the police department. What happened in Staten Island could have been a great teachable moment for the entire school community without involving criminal charges. Police could have been brought in to discuss hate crimes with the children and those found to be responsible for the menacing could have been punished in a more traditional way; if they continued to behave as such, then police action may have been a logical next step.

What say you, Clutchettes and Clutch gents?



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  • Wendy

    Just reading this I knew that the kids were black. Why else would the police go through with such extremes? I do agree that these little bad asses need discipline but to create a criminal record at such a young age is crazy. What every happen to boot camps…no?…so straight to jail huh? 13 years old? I swear I DO NOT want to have children! I don’t care what anyone says if [email protected]#king hard being a black person in the world. Sorry to go off topic! I do agree that these kids need punishment for their behavior and I feel really bad for the little girl who was picked on. I just had to point out that they had to have been black for the punishment to go that far.

    • Michelle

      This article has left out a lot of info.
      Another poster has left a couple of links, upthread, which explains this situation.

  • Take their asses to jail and make an example out of them, it’s like the Scared Straight Program to me. I’m tired of seeing youth who seem to think the only way they’ll be reprimanded is if they actually assault or maim someone. They need to be scared shitless before they think about bothering the next person, Muslim or not.

  • Clnmike

    Jail won’t scare anybody especially kids who can’t think two days in the future. If it did there would be no crime. I agree this should be used as a teach able moment in hand with some type of punishment to make it stick. But this country is way to quick to answer everything with an arrest when it has proven not to work time and time again. Punishment should be creative in this case, community service in a Muslim neighbourhood would be a great start.

  • dvine

    jail i don’t know.. suspension, expulsion, community service or something.. jail is not always the answer for our youth.. not taking up for them at all because i’d be ready 2 sit in jail to protect mines but their should be other options that won’t ruin their lives when they get to HS..

  • tabula rasa

    Society is so quick to throw people in jail, and this seems to be another and even worse case of the phenomenon. Of course there has to be consequences for these kids, but in the form of learning/teaching, not legal punishment.
    They (along with the other classmates and the whole school) need tolerance training, etc. If adults are intolerant of Muslims & religious freedoms (did anybody catch CNN’s ‘Unwelcome, Muslims Next Door’ special), how can kids NOT be?