Muslim teen describes being bullied at Hayward schools

- The fiery campaign rhetoric about Muslims has some Bay Area parents worried that anti-Muslim will impact their children.

Wednesday night KTVU talked with a Muslim teenager in Hayward who says she's been verbally attacked because of her religion.

Her voice weak at times, her hands clenched, Nikki Hussein spoke on grounds KTVU wouldn't show her face.

"I just feel really scared," she said.  "I don't feel like coming to school."

The 13-year-old said the bullying and harassment started when she was in elementary school in Hayward.

Students, led by one in particular, picked on her for wearing the traditional Muslim head scarf or hijab.

"He just started bullying me for a long time and everyone followed him and they started bullying me, " Nikki said.

In the fourth grade, Nikki stopped wearing the hijab, hoping that would stop the verbal attacks.

It didn't.

Classmates still teased her and she said her complaints to teachers went unanswered.

"Nothing happened. They didn't do anything," she said. "I was being bullied. I had so much stress on me."

Now in the 7th grade at Cesar Chavez Middle School in Hayward, Nikki said the insults continue with the same bully lashing out at her just last week.

"He called me a terrorist and asked me twice if you are a terrorist," she said. "I told him terrorism doesn't represent me or my religion."

This time a teacher reported the incident to school administrators.

And on Wednesday, Nikki, her mother and representatives with the California chapter of CAIR - Council on American-Islamic Relations - met with Hayward school officials.

"Unfortunately what we're witnessing in our office is that it all kind of falls on our youth," said Brice Hamack of CAIR.

Hamack cited several anti-Muslim incidents affecting young people and fears more amidst the current presidential campaign.

"Especially in the really dangerous climate that we have right now with a lot of the republican candidates making some really scary and dangerous comments regarding Muslims in this country," Hamack said.

Hayward school officials said they were unaware of the past bullying but took immediate steps to address what happened last week.

They said they plan to expand their anti-bullying efforts across campus.

"Incidents such as this affect the whole community and as a district we need to ensure that all our families feel safe and welcome in our schools."

KTVU was told the student involved in last week's incident will not be at the middle school for the foreseeable future.

CAIR hopes Nikki's story will encourage school officials to take seriously religion-based bullying.

A recent study by the group found that more than half of California's Muslim students reported being bullied for their faith - a rate double that of non-Muslim students.
 

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