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article imageTexas Student Attacked Because Of Her History Project

By Susan Duclos     Apr 8, 2008 in World
A 13-year-old girl was attacked in school after presenting her history assignment, which was to make a protest sign for or against an issue. She chose illegal immigration as her topic.
Melanie Bowers, 13, participated in a history assignment handed out by her teacher, which was to create a sign for or against any issue.
She chose the issue of illegal immigration and created a sign that said, "If you love our nation, stop illegal immigration."
According to Melanie, that sign somehow got passed around during the lunch break and angered some Latino students, one of which jumped on her back and put her in a choke-hold and then slammed her face into the brick wall.
She also alleges that a group of boys threatened to rape and kill her.
After Melanie explained to school officials what had occurred, they ordered her back to class, and told her could not call her parents.
Her parents deem this unacceptable, saying, "They handled this wrong, you know, they put a child back in danger. It was a very racially motivated crime."
After the incident, Mr. Bowers said his daughter told him she attempted to use an office phone to call him. Hayes said Assistant Principal Mark Castleberry looked her over and “did not see anything wrong with her.” Castleberry did not allow her to use the phone, and she eventually used her cell phone to inform her parents she had been attacked.
A statement issued from the Athens Independent School District, the school in which this attack happened, said, "We have a camera system in the building. We are collecting other information and statements from witnesses and this is all the information we have at this time."
J.R. Bowers, Melanie's father, told reporters, "It never should have happened in the first place. The whole assignment was a silly assignment and they should have contacted us immediately after it happened," he concludes with, "I won't be happy until the kids that did this are out of school."
In an interview given to the Associated Press, Mr. Bowers says they are keeping their daughter out of school because they are scared for her safety.
Police are reviewing security video from Athens Middle School.
More about Texas, Illegal immigration, History class