When Bullies Attack

By Sumayyah Meehan, TMO

loujainAn 11-year-old Iranian girl was brutally beaten by a group of younger boys at her school in Abu Dhabi on April 19th. Loujain Hussain, a 7th grade student at the Al Ma’ali International Private School, was attacked on the playground by four boys studying in 4th grade. The attack was extremely violent and teachers standing in the vicinity did not bother to intervene. Eyewitnesses have reported that Loujain was repeatedly kicked in the head and suffered repeated blows to the back of her head with a glass bottle. Shortly after the attack she began vomiting and by the time her father arrived she was unconscious. Loujain had been sent to the school nurse after the attack and school officials never requested an ambulance.

Her father rushed her to the Shaikh Khalifa Medical City Hospital. Doctors there diagnosed Loujain with a brain hemorrhage and immediately performed a 5-hour surgery to stop the bleeding. She is being kept in a drug-induced coma to ensure that she does not injure herself should she wake up. However, doctors did try this week to bring her out of it. The medication keeping her sedated was reduced and, while she did move, she has yet to open her eyes. Recent brain scans have revealed that her brain is still slightly swollen and there is minor bleeding. An MRI is schedule for next week.

What is most surprising about Loujain’s story is that the boys who attacked her are still in school. They have not suffered any ill consequences for their actions. Although school principal Khadeeja Al Sayyar did say that they would “likely” barred from attending school next year. In a statement she said, “They are just young children, only nine or 10 years old … now they are scared to go anywhere because of the negative attention they are receiving.” According to Al Sayyar, she is not allowed to expel students unless she gets permission from The Abu Dhabi Education Council (ADEC)

While her family keeps a vigil at her bedside, her father has already taken action to ensure that justice is served. He has filed complaints with the local police and has filed a formal complaint with The Abu Dhabi Education Council. Doctors remain hopeful that Loujain will open her eyes and be the same little girl she was before the attack. However, it is a very real possibility that she may suffer from permanent vision or speech impairment as a result of the severe injury to her brain.


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