Family sues school after 12-yo forced into terrorist ‘ISIS’ confession
A bullying incident at a Long Island school turned into a violation of civil rights when the principal forced the victim, a 12-year-old Muslim boy, to sign a false confession that he was a terrorist and Islamic State supporter, according to a lawsuit.
The complaint refers to an incident in January this year, when Nashwan Uppal, a seventh grader, was bullied by a group of students, who called him a “terrorist” and asked him what he was going to while at the cafeteria of the East Islip Middle School.
The lawsuit, filed in a Central Islip Eastern District Court on Monday, named the school district as a defendant.
Uppal, a special needs student, repeatedly tried to get away, but in an effort to get the children to stop, he acquiesced and is alleged to have told the them he was a terrorist and was going to blow up the fence, according to the lawsuit.
The family stated that because of his learning disability, Uppal thought “terrorist” meant “tourist,” and the fence was the first thing he saw when he looked out of the window.
The next day, Uppal was taken to the assistant principal’s office who interrogated him along with the school’s principal, where he was asked repeatedly if he was a terrorist, if he made bombs, if he knew who “Osama” was, and if he was part of Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS/ISIL), according to the complaint.
The school principal Mark Bernard and assistant principal Jason Stanton are alleged to have demanded he write a confession stating he was part of IS, knew how to make bombs and was going to blow up the school, according to the complaint.
The family maintains that he was forced to write the confession under “extreme duress” and had his civil rights violated. His backpack and locker were also searched.
Amor Uppal told WPIX in January that her son was also questioned by police officers and that the family consented to having their home searched.
East Islip police told WPIX they found no case of wrongdoing by the boy, who was suspended for five days from school.
The lawsuit said Uppal suffered from “severe and extreme emotional distress,” including “nightmares, sleeplessness, crying, fear, humiliation and stress,” as a result of the incident.