A Muslim Long Island family is suing the East Islip Union Free School District for $25 million, saying their 12-year-old son was taunted by his classmates as a “terrorist” — and then forced by officials to confess he was an ISIS terrorist who wanted to “blow up” the school.
The lawsuit claims Nashwan Uppal, a Pakistani-American student, was sitting in the lunchroom of the East Islip Middle School on 6 January 2016 when other kids started asking him what he was going to “blow up next.”
Uppal, who has severe learning and social disabilities, attempted to move to another table as adults in the lunchroom did nothing, according to the suit, but the bullies followed him and continued their Islamophobic taunts.
And the torment didn’t stop there, the suit says. The next day, Uppal was pulled from gym class by Superintendent John Dolan, Principal Mark Bernard and Assistant Principal Jason Stanton, and interrogated, the suit claims.
“Stanton repeatedly asked Nashwan if he was a terrorist, and if he made bombs in his house,” the complaint says. When he said no, an increasingly irate Stanton allegedly bellowed, “Don’t lie to us!”
A trembling Uppal was forced to write a confession saying he was “part of ISIS, knew how to make bombs, that he had bombs in his house, and that he was going to blow up the school fence,” the suit says.
Officials eventually let him call his mother, Nubaisha Amar, who was told her son had pledged allegiance to ISIS and was going to blow up the school. Cops escorted mother and son back to their home before searching the entire house and concluding he was no threat. But Uppal was suspended for a week for “criminal activity.”
Attorney David Antwork said the boy was emotionally scarred. “The defendants trampled on . . . Nashwan’s civil rights, berated and humiliated him by forcing Nashwan to confess to crimes which he did not commit while ignoring the fact that he was incessantly bullied and had known social, language and learning disabilities” he said.