One letter to the young girl says, ‘I’ll kill you’
A 10-year-old Muslim girl is at the center of an apparent hate crime after receiving racist and threatening letters in her elementary school cubby. Police and school officials in Framingham, Massachusetts are currently still investigating the terrifying notes.
The girl found one letter in her personal cubby last Friday which said, “You’re a terrorist,” along with her last name. School officials were notified of the letter, but earlier this week the girl found a second note in her cubby that said, “I will kill you.”
After being notified of the second note, school officials contacted the local police department — the letters are now being treated as a possible hate crime.
“As I have stated in the past, any form of hate or bias is unacceptable and unwelcome in our community,” Robert Tremblay, the superintendent of Framingham Schools says in a statement to the community this week. “The Framingham Police Department has already begun an official investigation to identify the individual responsible for the letter.” He says the school is working to ensure safety for students and staff, and will also conduct their own internal investigation.
A #Framingham elementary student of Muslim faith is the target of two notes pictured here. They were found in her storage bin at school. @FraminghamPD are investigating. #wcvb pic.twitter.com/emPjr2tqJT
— Sera Congi (@seracongi) November 14, 2018
After the first note was brought to the attention of school officials, the elementary principal, Elizabeth Simon, tells Boston 25 News that she held an “open circle” with fellow students in the victim’s grade. “Some of them didn’t know what a terrorist was,” Simon said. “I explained that this is unacceptable.” Simon says she asked all of the students to send a note to the victim to let her know they were “against this type of act.”
Two days later, the second note — the one threatening her life — was found in the girl’s cubby. “It’s pretty disgusting,” Jamaal Siddiqui, the girl’s uncle, tells Boston 25. “Threatening a child for no apparent reason.”
The thing about racism and children is that no one is born a racist. Racism is taught and learned; planted and cultivated, usually in a like-minded environment. Bold, terroristic threats like the ones at play here in this story are horrifying and speak to a greater divide, to be sure, but microaggressions observed by children play a vital role in perpetuating ill-treatment and stereotypes. Which is why honest conversations about race should occur in educational environments always, not just when incidents like hate crimes occur.
In partnership with @FraminghamPD, @FraminghamPS is investigating a possible hate crime at Hemenway Elementary School. It is not lost on me the harm this has caused the family & the greater Muslim community. We stand with you. We will not accept hate. https://t.co/Gtm4mg36nA pic.twitter.com/HWAQq2uXc4
— Dr. Robert Tremblay (@framsuper) November 14, 2018
“As we continue our investigations we will continue to use this as a teachable moment to ensure all students learn how to create and sustain a welcoming community for all,” Tremblay’s statement concludes. “It is not lost on me the harm these letters have caused the family and the greater Muslim community. I want to reassure you that the Framingham Public Schools stands with you. We will not accept hate. We will stand united against it.”