Conflicting stories of 7 year-old Muslim boy beaten on Cary school bus

Here's what the father says happened:

The parents of the first grader said he was beaten by five students on a school bus, allegedly while they made references to Muslims and the boy’s Pakistani heritage. Abdul Usmani’s father, Dr. Zeeshan-ul-hassan Usmani, told BuzzFeed News that his wife and three sons have left the US for Pakistan after this latest incident in a long history of discrimination towards his children and family.

“These are six and seven year old kids calling him names, with one kid punching him in the face, while two other kids attacked him, kicked him, and held his arms back,” Usmani said of his son. He described his son “as American as you can get.” “They keep beating him all the way from school to home on the bus,” Usmani said of the ride home from Weatherstone Elementary School in Cary, North Carolina, last Friday.

Before you assume this dad is blowing things out of proportion, read his bio. He's done a lot of work on anti-terrorism data modeling, including trying to reduce casualties from suicide bombings. But the strangest part of this story is how I found out about it. A Facebook friend from another state posted this, so then I tried to find local coverage, and this is all I could find:

The Wake County school system is looking into a report that a 7-year-old boy was assaulted on a school bus Friday and that his attackers made references to Islam, Muslims and Pakistan.

The principal at Weatherstone Elementary School in Cary has done an initial investigation and hopes to speak with the student’s family, Wake County schools spokeswoman Lisa Luten said Monday.

No one on the bus that day reported seeing anything unusual, she said. A student sitting next to the boy reported “play-fighting” with him.

“There’s no indication that anyone surrounding them even saw them play-fighting,” Luten said. “The bus driver says there was nothing to report that day.”

It's very possible the truth may be somewhere in-between. I've got three grown children, but back in the day, I had to deal with a few of these "what really happened?" frustrating puzzles.

That being said, there is another huge difference between these two reports. From the first (Arab American News) article:

Lisa Luten, a spokesperson for the Wake County Public School System, said that the principal of the school immediately began investigating the alleged incident after the family told them about it.
Speaking about allegation of discrimination based on religion or race, Luten said, “When [the family] originally shared the information, they didn’t share any info about religion or race, and just that their child was bullied.”

The article in the N&O might lead you to believe the school first learned about this from CAIR, because there's no reference to the parents interacting with school officials. But it appears the parents had already contacted the school about their child being bullied, before they sought help from CAIR. Still not sure of the timing, but that "nobody told us about religion or race" has the aroma of ass-covering.

We can't let this story just "go away," no matter how much some people might want it to.

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