Virginia Student Admits She Lied About Classmates Cutting Off Her Locs

A12-year-old Virginia girl who accused her white classmates of pinning her down and cutting her dreadlocks admitted that she made up the story, her family’s attorney and the school announced.

Amari Allen, a student at Immanuel Christian School in Springfield, Virginia, initially claimed three fellow sixth graders attacked her during recess on September 23. The girl alleged the boys told her that her hair was “nappy” and that she was “ugly.”

“They put their hands over my mouth. They put my hands behind my back. And they started cutting my hair and saying it was ugly,” Amari said after the alleged incident. The straight-A student went on to claim that the boys had been bullying her since the beginning of the school year.

Her grandparents said the girl did not mention anything until her grandmother noticed long parts of her hair were missing. After Amari told her grandmother her version of the events, the family reported the alleged assault to Fairfax County Police.

However, a week after the alleged incident, Amari and her family met with school officials to apologize, NBC Washington reported. An investigation into the girl’s allegations reviewed the school’s security cameras and discovered problems in Amari’s account. Footage revealed the location of students at the time of the alleged attack did not match her description.

Family attorney Michael Daniels said the girl admitted to lying about the incident but maintained that she is a victim of bullying. Amari also admitted to cutting her own hair. Her family is seeking counseling for her.

“Everybody is incredibly sorry that this all went down the way that it did,” Daniels said. “They’re starting to look at a path forward, and that involves a lot of counseling and therapy and open discussion.”

The girl’s family issued an apology to the three boys who were accused as well as to the school community.

“To those young boys and their parents, we sincerely apologize for the pain and anxiety these allegations have caused,” the family said in a statement released through the school. “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.”

The family’s statement continued: “To the broader community, who rallied in such passionate support of our daughter, we apologize for betraying your trust. We understand there will be consequences, and we’re prepared to take responsibility for them. We know that it will take time to heal, and we hope and pray that the boys, their families, the school, and the broader community will be able to forgive us in time.”

Head of School Stephen Danish confirmed in a statement to The North Star that the allegations were discovered to be false.

“We’re grateful to the Fairfax County Police Department for their diligent work to investigate these allegations,” Danish said in the statement. “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.”

The statement continued: “This ordeal has revealed that we as a school family are not immune from the effects of deep racial wounds in our society. We view this incident as an opportunity to be part of a learning and healing process, and we will continue to support the students and families involved.”

It is unclear if Amari will return to the private school or whether she will face disciplinary action if she does return. The Allens pay almost $12,000 a year for Amari to attend Immanuel Christian School. She has been a student at the private school since she was in kindergarten.

The four students involved in the allegations attend the same school where Vice President Mike Pence’s wife, Karen Pence, teaches part time. Karen Pence was an art teacher at Immanuel Christian School for 12 years. She began teaching there again part-time in January, NBC News reported.

The evangelical Christian school, which teaches kindergarten through tenth grade, made national headlines in January after reports that it bans employees from engaging in or condoning “homosexual or lesbian sexual activity” and “transgender identity.”

About the Author

Nicole Rojas is a breaking news writer for The North Star. She has published in various publications, including Newsweek, GlobalPost, IHS Jane’s Defence Weekly, and the Long Island Post. Nicole graduated from Boston University in 2012 with a degree in print journalism. She is an avid world traveler who recently explored Asia and Australia.