The U.S. Justice Department is looking into last month’s allegations by a St. Petersburg Muslim girl that she was threatened and harassed by a classmate at Azalea Middle School.
In a letter to Pinellas school superintendent Clayton Wilcox, a lawyer for the department’s Civil Rights Division said the agency learned of the girl’s allegations through media reports and asked the district to provide information on the case.
The lawyer, Kym Davis Rogers, said the inquiry was preliminary. She could not be reached Friday for comment.
Laurie Dart, an attorney for the school district, said she was compiling the information collected during Pinellas’ investigation, which has ended. She said she planned to send it to the Justice Department soon. The district received the letter Monday.
The girl, 11-year-old Hannah Chehab, alleged at a Nov. 12 news conference that a boy at Azalea pulled off her headscarf, called a hijab, and later threatened to shoot and kill her after she complained to an assistant principal. She and her parents alleged that school officials were slow to respond to the incidents.
The sixth-grader also said the school year began with students asking her if she was a terrorist and if she was hiding a bomb.
The news conference was called by Ahmed Bedier, executive director of the Tampa chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations. He said Friday that the girl’s parents did not want to comment on the letter.