The Staten Island boy charged with a hate crime for trying to rip off a classmate's hijab apparently had an accomplice — a 13-year-old girl also charged with a hate crime. The girl — and her school — have a history of infractions.
According to the New York Post, 13-year-old Krystal Callender was arrested Friday and charged with the same crimes as 12-year-old Osman Daramy — felony assault as a hate crime and aggravated harassment as a hate crime. In addition to helping him harass the other girl over the course of two months — Callender at one point allegedly threatened to stab her if didn't give up her cell phone and money — she's also committed a number of other offenses. She was caught in the robbery of a pizza delivery man outside her school (Daramy is also a suspect), and she was suspended for stealing $70 from a teacher's purse.
Callender's religious affiliation is unclear, but Daramy's dad says he is Muslim, and therefore shouldn't be charged with a hate crime. According to the Staten Island Advance, he asks, "How could a Muslim have another hate crime against another Muslim? [Osman] is a Muslim. ... He's a victim." Daramy's religion does add a layer of complexity to the crime, but its hateful nature remains — in addition to trying to rip off her hijab, the two students reportedly called their victim a "terrorist."
Nor is such behavior uncommon at their school, Dreyfus Intermediate School in Staten Island. Teachers tell the Advance that repeated student offenses are "swept under the rug every day" by the principal in order to avoid "bad publicity" — last week, sources said she tried to convince cops not to charge Daramy in order to circumvent bad press for the school. Teachers said they were subject to harassment, verbal abuse, and property vandalism by students, and that "[Ms. Hill] does not believe in discipline. She chooses not to address what goes on." The Advance also quotes an email message Hill sent to teachers about the alleged hate crime:
Even though nothing happened in school or during school hours, I have a pretty good idea that we will be in the papers. Is it unfair? Of course. I ask that if you are approached by news reporters that you refrain from responding to them.
Unless the Advance has it all wrong, it seems that Hill's first concern is protecting her school's reputation — not protecting students or teachers. But if coverage of the hijab incident is any indication, her approach isn't working.
12-Year-Old Staten Island Boy Suspected In Alleged Headscarf Bias Incident Can't Be Charged With Hate Crime, Dad Says [Staten Island Advance]
2nd Staten Island Suspect In Custody In Attack On Muslim Student [Staten Island Advance]
Cops Bust Second Kid For Allegedly Ripping Off Muslim Schoolgirl Headdress [NY Post]
11-Year-Old Boy Accused Of Hate Crime Gives Press The Finger [Gothamist]
Second Arrest Made In Muslim Student's Alleged Assault [NY1]