Alleged high school bully arrested, CPS investigates

April 15, 2011 3:24:25 PM PDT
A 13-year-old Chicago girl who says she was bullied at Louis Pasteur Elementary School because she is of Arab descent will be allowed to change classes.

Manar Salama and her mother met with the principal at Louis Pasteur Elementary School on the city's Southwest Side after the girl's family got the Chicago Department of Human Relations involved.

"When I go to school, I feel like throwing up 'cause I don't want to go because I did nothing wrong," Salama said.

The 13-year-old is a seventh-grader at Louis Pasteur. She said the harassment started at the beginning of the school year when a girl she once considered a friend began making fun of her Arabic background in class.

"They'll come by me, and they say, 'A bomb's going to go off,' and make fun of our language. Things like that," Salama said. She said bullies put pictures of Afghanistan and Yemen in her locker.

In February, Salama told her parents about the harassment when, she says, the bully made threatening phone calls to her home. That's when Salama's mother, Faida, first called the school.

"Every time I talk to them they minimize the problem. And they make it seem like it's nothing," Faida Salama said.

Faida Salama contacted the city's Department of Human Relations, which Faida Salama said led to a meeting with the principal. Chicago Public Schools is now investigating the bullying allegations.

On Wednesday, Salama's alleged bully was arrested- but the girl was back in class Friday.

"Her life has changed since August until now 'cause everyday she gets harassment from that girl," said Manar's father Faisan Salama.

The school said Salama would be assigned to a new classroom on Monday. But she would like to switch schools completely.

"They keep on saying it's only a couple more months, but that's not going to stop the kids. That's still more days of getting bullied," Salama said.

Chicago Public Schools officials released a statement: "There has been no substantiated proof to recommend discipline at this time... a safety plan is in place and both students are being closely monitored on a weekly basis... Bullying is not tolerated on any level in Chicago Public Schools."

The alleged bully is not being identified since she is a juvenile. Attempts by ABC 7 to contact her family were unsuccessful. School officials said they have requested the girl's parents also participate in mediation meetings.