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Indiana parents sue school system in beating, bullying of son

15 November 2011 General 12 Comments Email This Post Email This Post
Osama Haddad and his wife, Hind, leave a Merrillville, Ind. news conference Monday about the beating and bullying of their son at Lake Central High School in St. John, Ind. The Haddads are suing the school system. (Heather Charles, Chicago Tribune / November 14, 2011)

Osama Haddad and his wife, Hind, leave a Merrillville, Ind. news conference Monday about the beating and bullying of their son at Lake Central High School in St. John, Ind. The Haddads are suing the school system. (Heather Charles, Chicago Tribune / November 14, 2011)

By Becky Schlikerman

David Osama Haddad was taunted and harassed at school for a year, called “Little Osama” and “terrorist” and given gifts when Osama bin Laden and Moammar Gadhafi were killed, his parents said.

Though the words were hurtful, the bullying came to a head last week when a student allegedly attacked David and beat him in a hallway at Lake Central High School in St. John, Ind., his parents said Monday at their attorney’s Merrillville, Ind., office.

“He was just punching him” while a group of other students watched, David’s mother said of the bully. “Every time (David) tried to get up, he would knock him on his face and back,” she said, her voice breaking. He focused on his eyes.”

The Haddad family filed a lawsuit in Lake County, Ind., Monday asserting that school officials failed to protect the 17-year-old junior from at least seven bullies who targeted him and taunted him because of his Middle Eastern heritage.

The lawsuit claims the school district, school board President George Baranowski, Superintendent Lawrence Veracco, Principal Robert McDermott and Assistant Principal Sean Begley knew there had been physical altercations and harassment for a year but failed to intervene.

Calls to each of the school officials were not returned. A woman who answered the phone at the school district, Lake Central School Corporation, said they had not seen the lawsuit and would not comment.

The Haddad family seeks unspecified damages from a jury trial.

With pictures of their son’s bruised and battered face displayed, Hind and Osama Haddad spoke to reporters to “to ask for safety and justice.”

“It’s obvious the hate, the way they hit him,” Osama Haddad said, calling the fight a hate crime.

St. John police were called, said the family’s attorney, Kenneth J. Allen. The Police Department referred questions to the chief, who was not available late Monday.

David’s parents said at the news conference they are Catholic and have lived in the United States for more than three decades after leaving their native Jordan. They said their son was called “terrorist” and “little bin Laden,” and students brought David “presents” because Osama bin Laden and Moammar Gadhafi had been killed.

Allen said students told David: “We brought you a present because we killed your uncle” and “We finally got your relatives.”

The fight Nov. 8 left David with three hematomas on his head, bruises on both of his eyes and scratches, among other injuries, his parents said. Allen said the teenager is suffering from vision problems and vertigo.

“You think your son is in school, in a safe place,” Hind Haddad said. “I’m afraid for him to go back to school.”

David has not gone back to the high school since the fight, and his mother said she didn’t know if or when he would return.

The family spoke with school officials during the last year about threats and verbal harassment, but nothing was done, the parents said.

“The administration turned a blind eye to threats of violence — to bullying,” Allen said.

bschlikerman@tribune.com

Original post: Indiana parents sue school system in beating, bullying of son

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12 Comments »

  1. That is a sad story and maybe some adults should go to jail for endangering the welfare of a child assuming the school administrators knew this was going on. The bullies also need to be charged.

  2. Disclaimer: this is a repost to try and avoid being scrolled of the site.

    Tyler Simonds,

    “Nowhere in the Qur’an is crucifixion advocated as a means of execution for any punishment”. appearently someone gave you a sanitized version of the koran. 5:33 clearly proscribes crucifixion as a punishment. check out the comments on the keith ellison article. i give 4 different sources, although it looks like faithinallah.org and quran.com are using the same version. or just google it dude. anyways someone is lying to you. then again crucifixion maybe a “good” death compared to when muhammad cut off the hands and feet and put a hot poker in the eyes of the muderers from that one tribe? don’t know, now that i think about it, bleeding out after a hot poker in the eyes maybe better than hanging on a cross in the dessert. but clearly we can all agree that stoning to death is the best way to go. right? i know it’s shocking the brutality that “the god of abraham” wants his “best creation” to inflict on each other.

    As-Salāmu `Alaykum

    //m2
    16 November 2011 at 9:20 am

  3. While the western secular democracy loves the criminals, drug dealers, thugs, gangsters and general mischief makers and glamorize crime putting these people in cinema and tv and having the youth idolize amd wanting to imitate these individuals…

    Allah the Lord of the Worlds has a different solution for these corrupters… The punishment prescribed is a detterent more than anything and serves as a warning to the criminals. Because we know that this is the only way to reduce crime. Just look at America biggest crime pit in the world from government to civilians.

    If you are kind to the criminals then you are oppressing the innocent

  4. M2,
    Quran 5:33
    Indeed, the penalty for those who wage war against Allah and His Messenger and strive upon earth [to cause] corruption is none but that they be killed or crucified or that their hands and feet be cut off from opposite sides or that they be exiled from the land. That is for them a disgrace in this world; and for them in the Hereafter is a great punishment,

    You never had the guts to post the verse. God was using a similitude. The Muslims never crucified anyone. This verse was only showing disgust for the people of Mecca. The Meccan pagans persecuted the Muslims simply because they could not stand to see them worship a God other than their idols. They were forced from their homes. They moved to Medina. The Meccans still want to kill them. What normal people go killing people for their worship of God? And as the beginning of this verse says, that those who wage war without reason or justification should be punished.

    Also I know you really never learn from anything I teach you. You said that one tribe? You mean the Banu Qurayzah? The Jews of this tribe did similar things like the people of Mecca. AND THEY WERE PUNISHED ACCORDING TO THE JEWISH HALAQA LAW. Why don’t you preach about the painful punishment given in the Bible to those Jews? Deuteronomy 20:10-14

  5. M. Bennett

    “You never had the guts to post the verse.” what are you talking about? i clearly state “check out the comments on the keith ellison article. i give 4 different sources, although it looks like faithinallah.org and quran.com are using the same version”.

    so i don’t get it. is it justice to crucify people? or not? first you say it’s a simile then “those who wage war without reason or justification should be punished” is it an acceptable punishment or not?

    here i’ll give you a better answer for the next you want to teach someone. according to muhammad asad’s translation and explanation:

    “In short, the attempt of the commentators to interpret the above verse as a “legal injunction” must be categorically rejected, however great the names of the person responsible for it. On the other hand, a really convincing interpretation suggests itself to us at once as soon as we read the verse – as it ought to be read – in the present tense: for, read in this way, the verse reveals itself immediately as a statement of fact -a declaration of the inescapability of the retribution which “those who make war on God” bring upon themselves.”

    he goes on and on. but i don’t think everyone agrees with his interpretation.

  6. Dua I love your vision of America being the biggest crime pit in the world. Then I look at Muslim run countries and I see why 75% of Arab youth want to go live somewhere else including this crime pit. An Islamic based government or laws is not what this country or any other country in this world needs. Islamic laws in Islamic lands are a breeding ground for human right abuses by a self serving clergy who dominate people’s lives. I have no problems with Muslims in America but as to their values and the way those values are traditionally enforced they have no business in the United States. Let me clarify most Muslim values are similar to the values of other faiths but their enforcement and encroachment on basic freedoms is unconscionable.

  7. QUOTE: ” Islamic laws in Islamic lands are a breeding ground for human right abuses by a self serving clergy who dominate people’s lives. I have no problems with Muslims in America but as to their values and the way those values are traditionally enforced they have no business in the United States. Let me clarify most Muslim values are similar to the values of other faiths but their enforcement and encroachment on basic freedoms is unconscionable.”

    And – where is that happening?

    There are many sects and thoughts in Islam. Go and Google “Sufi.” Typical Huntington, Fortuyn, Spencer stuff.” All Muslims are the same violent and anti-democratic.” Morocco uses some sharia and French civil laws, but is a democracy like that of the UK. Morocco is a non-NATO US ally in North Africa and has been a friend of the US since the beginning. The country was the first to recognize the American Republic in 1775. Turkey is also a great friend of the US.
    Be careful of generalizing – it make you look like a foolish bigot!

    I also hate the smell of Fortuyn’s rotten corpse!

  8. Well Eslaporte Turkish Muslims killed most of its Christians during World War I after which they moved to a secular governmental system so that though the people are Islamic the government is not. Morocco is a constitutional Monarchy with many democratic processes in place and has been friendly to western countries since it regained its independence. The government however, does support imprisoning Christians as they placed Jamaa Ait Bakrim in prison for 15 years for converting from Islam to Christianity and trying to spread the Christian faith. There are also many threats against Christians in the Country and the government shut down a Christian orphanage. Now if that is not meddling in peoples personal beliefs and lives I do not know what is.

    When you say the word foolish Bigot I have never advocated the imprisonment or the interfering of Muslims practicing their faith. However any group of people that place Christians or persons of other religious faiths in jail because of their beliefs are Bigots so it is safe to say that Morocco and other Islamic Countries are full of Bigots. Now persons regardless of religion who kill people of other religious faiths are Murderous Bigots. Muslims over the entire world should be calling for the freedom of Mr. Bakrim the fact they do not says something. Actions speak louder than words and those actions have said and are saying quite a bit in both Turkey and Morocco not to mention other Arab countries.

  9. Criley,
    That is a very biased opinion of the “Turkish Muslims killed most of its Christians during World War I” Ottoman history is full of records and documents which show that that the Armenian Christians and Turkish Muslims lived for 844 years together with no problem. Armenians were called “Millet-I Sadika” which means the most loyal nation in the Empire to the Ottoman Sultan. Therefore, Armenians were allowed to have higher ranks in the government and military. No racist treatment or approach occurred against Armenians within the empire. Ottomans even had Armenian foreign ministers and bank owners. Here is a brief history of why that happened:
    ■1880’s… First Armenian movements start… Hincak Party (supported by France) calls for rebellion in Eastern Turkey… Dashnak Party (supported by Russia) calls for the same goal…

    ■1914… World War 1 starts…
    ■Ottoman-Russian battles continue in Eastern Turkey…
    ■Dashank Party creates so-called “Dashnak Government” in the Eastern Turkey that coordinates guerilla warfare against Ottoman military behind the battle field of Ottoman-Russian war.
    ■April 24, 1915… Ottoman officials arrest propagandist and separatist Armenian leaders (those who have committed massacres)…
    ■Dashnak (Armenian Revolutionary Federation) guerrillas and Hunchak (Social Democrat Hunchakian Party) massacred thousands of Muslims in order to create their “Greater Armenia” territory in the region.
    ■Ottoman Government gives the order of “Relocation” (Tehcir) which means to relocate some part of Armenian population from the war zone until the war ended. (Relocation order did not cover the entire Armenian population; Only suspected rebelling villages in Eastern Anatolia, some villages remained.)
    ■Ottoman government also takes necessary measurements in order to protect the properties of Armenians, supply them with food and water and protect the Armenians during the relocation. Including buying housing for them in their arrival area, Syria. Contrary to popular Armenian belief, there was no desert in the path of the relocation.
    ■1918… Ottoman government calls the Armenians back. Many do, this is why there is a large population of Armenians in Eastern Anatolia.

    The chronology above briefly explains the development of the situation. During this period, hate, revenge, disease, hunger and the little chess game of Western powers cause around 600,000 Armenian and 550,000 Turkish lives.

  10. Criley,
    look how conveniently wikipedia glazes over who those intellectuals and community leaders were. No reference given to the Dashnak Government or Armenian Revolutionary Federation.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Armenian_Genocide:

    The starting date of the “genocide” is conventionally held to be April 24, 1915, the day when Ottoman authorities arrested some 250 “Armenian intellectuals” and “community leaders” in Constantinople.

  11. Eslaporte,
    Sufism is not a denomination of Islam, it is part of Islam. The Sufi believe that God’s name should be praised regularly. The Quran supports this ideology along with prayer. But then a guy named Wahabi (influenced by Western powers) decided that sufis were the cause for the downfall of Islam, and went around killing Muslims who believed in praising God’s name. They don’t believe we should celebrate the birthday of Prophet Muhammad.
    Wahabi Muslims are followers of Muhammad ibne Abdul wahab present in the 18th century in Saudi Arabia whereas Sunni Muslims are followers of Prophet Muhammad and his companions. Although Sunnis are around 90% of the Muslims population they have not been able to eliminate the Wahabi regime, due to support from Western powers.

  12. I agree the time around WWI before and after are frought with many events. This is the best record I could find from a person who seems to have done his homework on the Murders.

    http://www.hawaii.edu/powerkills/SOD.CHAP5.HTM

    This is what they are teaching at the University level

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