Watch CBS News

Girl accuses classmates of cutting off her dreadlocks, later recants her story

Girl recants story of kids cutting dreadlocks
12-year-old admits she lied about white classmates cutting off her dreadlocks 01:24

Editor's Note: The girl who accused her classmates of cutting off her dreadlocks has since recanted her story. The head of Immanuel Christian School also confirmed the allegations were false. Below is the original story, which was published on September 28:

A black middle school student from Virginia is accusing three white boys of pinning her down and cutting off her dreadlocks. The incident took place at Immanuel Christian School — where Vice President Mike Pence's wife, Karen Pence, is a teacher. 

Amari Allen, a 12-year-old student at the private K-12 Christian school, said the boys called her dreadlocks "ugly" and "nappy" before cutting them off on the playground during recess.

"They kept laughing and calling me names," Amari told CBS affiliate WUSA-TV, tearing up. "They called me 'ugly,' said, 'I shouldn't have been born.' They called me 'an attention-seeker.'"

According to WUSA, one of the boys allegedly covered Amari's mouth while another held her hands behind her back and a third took a pair of scissors to her dreadlocks. 

Amari didn't tell her family about the incident until after her grandmother noticed the length of her hair had changed.  WUSA-TV

"They ran off laughing, and I was just sitting there," Amari said.

The alleged incident occurred on Monday, but the shy preteen said she didn't tell her family about it until Wednesday, after her grandmother noticed her hair looked different. She feared retaliation if she confessed the truth, she said.

"It's very painful," said Cynthia Allen, Amari's grandmother. "I want to see them dismissed from the school. I want to see something done."

Allen's family pays nearly $12,000 per year for Amari to attend the school, which made headlines earlier this year after Karen Pence took an art teaching job at the famously anti-LGBTQ institution.

"We take seriously the emotional and physical well-being of all our students, and have a zero-tolerance policy for any kind of bullying or abuse," Immanuel Christian School said in a statement. "We are deeply disturbed by the allegations being made, and are in communication with the family of the alleged victim to gather information and provide whatever support we can. We have also reached out to law enforcement to ask them to conduct a thorough investigation, and further inquiries should be directed to the Fairfax County Police."

While the school has a zero-tolerance policy for bullying, Amari said the boys had previously tormented her. She said that the boys have taken her lunch and called her names in the past.

Amari's family met with school officials Thursday, and the investigation is ongoing.

View CBS News In
CBS News App Open
Chrome Safari Continue
Be the first to know
Get browser notifications for breaking news, live events, and exclusive reporting.