GOOD

This story is wrong on so many levels. 12-year-old Nashwan Appal already faces his share of challenges in school. The son of Pakistani immigrants, Appal suffers from a learning disability and is often picked on by other kids in school. But that bullying took on a malicious new form recently that led his parents to filing a $50 million lawsuit against the East Islip, New York middle school.


Their suit claims that after fellow students taunted their son into saying he would blow up a fence at the school, administrators then demanded to know if Appal was a “terrorist,” eventually forcing him to sign a “confession” pledging his allegiance to the Islamic State. Afterward, school officials contacted the local police, who searched his family’s home.The school has not commented publicly on the suit but the family’s attorney David Antwork released a statement saying the bullying was not an isolated incident. “It’s not like he was the new kid in school that all of a sudden nobody knew who he was,” Antwork said. “He was this sweet boy that’s been in the system for seven years since he was in kindergarten.”

As part of his disability, and in addition to just 12-years-old, Appal reportedly did not understand the nature of the taunts, thinking he was instead being asked if he was a “tourist,” or the “confession” he signed. The police also did not find anything incriminating in their search of his family’s home.

“It’s hard nowadays to be a Muslim in this country,” Antwork said. “There’s a lot going on in the news, there’s a lot of anti-Muslim rhetoric.”