VIDEO: Boy’s mother initially claims earlier this year that her son was forced to confess to being a terrorist.
EAST ISLIP, N.Y. — A family is suing a Long Island school district alleging that officials at their son’s middle school tried to force the child, who is Muslim, to write a false confession saying he was a terrorist and an ISIS supporter.
The lawsuit filed Monday in Suffolk County’s Central Islip Eastern District court alleges that Principal Mark Bernard and Assistant Principal Jason Stanton asked Nashwan Uppal to write out a comment he said to another student at East Islip Middle School.
But they didn’t stop there, the lawsuit alleges. They are accused of also asking him to write that he was a member of ISIS and a terrorist that would blow up the school.
The family said their son, who was 12 years old at the time, was forced to write that confession under “extreme duress” and that his civil rights were violated when Bernard and Stanton told him to say he was a terrorist, an ISIS member who knew how to make bombs, the lawsuit says.
The confession in question was supposed to contain a statement from Uppal describing what he allegedly said to a group of bullies that caused Bernard and Stanton to pull him aside after school.
A group of children was harassing Nashwan, calling him a “terrorist” and asking him, “What are you going to blow up next?” according to the lawsuit.
The seventh grader, who is a special-needs student, repeatedly tried to get away, but in an effort to get the children to stop, he agreed and told them he was a terrorist and was going to blow up the school fence, according to the lawsuit.
The lawsuit states that Uppal’s learning disabilities meant 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.
PIX11 News has reached out to the family’s attorney David Antwork for comment. The district declined to comment to Newsday on Tuesday, “citing the ongoing litigation,” according to the news outlet.
Uppal and his mother spoke with PIX11 News in January, days after the alleged incident.
Amar Uppal said her son was questioned by police officers and their family consented to having their home searched. At the time, East Islip police told PIX11 News they found no case of wrongdoing by Uppal, who was suspended from school.