Nashwan Uppal, a 12-year-old seventh grader at an East Islip, New York middle school, was questioned by his school regarding comments he made in the lunch room about “blowing up the school fence, being a part of ISIS and knowing how to make bombs.”
Now his family is suing the school district for a whopping $25 million, claiming his civil rights were violated and that he was discriminated against based on his race, ethnicity, religion and disability.
Uppal, a Pakistani-American Muslim special needs student, is described as having “severe social and learning disabilities.” But he easily gave an interview to PIX11 News, along with his mother, Nubaisha Amar.
The incident allegedly occurred on January 6.
According to the lawsuit filed Monday, August 15, in Suffolk County’s Central Islip Eastern District court, a group of students in the school lunchroom were taunting Uppal, calling him a terrorist and asking what he was going to “blow up next.”
The lawsuit alleges that the boy attempted to move to another table, but the students followed him and continued their “Islamophobic taunts.” PIX11 reports that in response, an exasperated Amar said he responded with, “Yes, I am a terrorist and I will blow up the school fence.”
In the lawsuit, the parents claim that due to Uppal’s learning disabilities, he “did not know what a ‘terrorist’ was” and he said he would blow up the fence because that was the first thing he saw when he looked out the window.
From PIX11 News:
The day after is when Nashawn said he was called out of his final class of the day minutes before the school day ended, brought in to a room with the school’s Principal Mark Bernard and Assistant Principal Jason Stanton.
Nashawn says he was told by both Bernard and Stanton to write what he said, that he was a member of ISIS, a terrorist and would blow up the school.
Nashawn said he would not because that was not exactly as he said it. “He tells me to write the wrong thing when I didn’t say it,” said Uppal.
During this time, Nashawn’s mother said she was waiting for her son at dismissal and never received a call from the school about her son’s whereabouts until about two hours later. Local police were called, her son questioned by officers and the family even consented to having their home searched.
East Islip police confirm to PIX11 they found nothing and no case of wrongdoing by Uppal – that this was a case of “boys being boys,” and yet, Uppal was suspended by the district for five days.
Attorney David Antwork told the New York Post, “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 the boy is “emotionally scarred.”
There is an uncertain discrepancy in the amount of the lawsuit – Reuters reported that it is a $50 million lawsuit. Other sources report it as $25 million.
In a similar incident, the famed “Clock Boy” who was arrested over a suspicious “clock” that was thought to be a homemade bomb, has also sued his school for “violating his civil rights.”
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