Abu Dhabi As Al Ma'ali International Private School pupil Loujain Hussain is still in a coma eight days after she was beaten senseless by a group of boys at the school, the principal of the institution said the four boys who were to blame were unaware of the gravity of their actions.
'Scared and depressed'
Khadeeja Al Sayyar told Gulf News the boys involved in the fight had to be seen as children. "They are now scared and depressed because they had been identified online and are being harassed daily," she said.
The school, which follows an Arabic/American curriculum has separate buildings for boys and girls. "One is for those Grade 4 and below while the older students study in another building," Al Sayyar said.
Al Sayyar said the fight was not the first that had occurred at the school. "Whenever they are brought to our attention, we take immediate steps to resolve them and ensure it does not happen again," she added.
Loujain, 11, an Iranian expatriate who is in the seventh grade, was beaten by a group of Grade 4 boys after a minor incident developed into a fight last week.
"One of her friends was accidentally shoved into one of the boys; despite her apology, he returned with a group of friends who began pushing, hitting and kicking them, especially Loujain," a witness who wished to remain anonymous told Gulf News.
"Then, one brought out a glass bottle and beat her with it," the pupil added.
According to the principal, glass items are banned from the school grounds, based on health and safety directions issued by the Abu Dhabi Education Council (Adec).
"The incident happened in a more isolated area [in the playground]...however, even before the incident, there were at least 14 staff members patrolling the playground," Khadeeja said.
Luojain' father, Hussain Abdullah, told Gulf News that all the witnesses who spoke to the family confirmed that one of the boys had the glass bottle in his hand at the time of the fight.
"It has been alleged that at the time of the incident, no supervisor or teacher was in the area," the father said, but Al Sayyar insisted such a situation was virtually impossible.
"We are very strict when it comes to the health and safety of our pupils ... in our canteen, we only provide sandwiches and juice cartons for consumption," she said.
Loujain, while currently in a stable condition, is still in a medically induced coma at the Shaikh Khalifa Medical City (SKMC).
Loujain's father has filed a complaint with the Mussafah police station, which is currently investigating the matter alongside the Abu Dhabi Education Council (Adec).
Gulf News learnt that the four boys were still at the school, but Khadeeja said that they had been suspended following the incident. They may return to complete the school year but would not be allowed to return to the school in the next academic year, she added. "We are waiting from instructions from Adec to see how to proceed in the matter," she said.
Hospital visit: Loujain stable
Senior officials of the Abu Dhabi Education Council (Adec) visited Loujain Hussain in hospital Thursday. Doctors assured them that her condition is stable.
The officials included Dr Mugheer Khamis Al Khaili, director-general of Adec; Mohammad Salem Al Daheri, executive director of school operations, Adec; and Eng Hamad Al Dhaheri, executive director of private schools and quality assurance. They were accompanied by Shaikh Khalifa Medical City CEO Dr Jeff Staples.