A middle school student has been charged as a juvenile with aggravated battery and a hate crime following a fight at a northwest suburban school that left a student with broken collarbones, police said.
The student at Hannah Beardsley Middle School in Crystal Lake tackled and repeatedly struck another student, sending that student to the hospital, Crystal Lake police said.
The student made reference to the victim's national origin just prior to the attack, police said.
The student who said he was attacked, eighth-grader Omid Babakhani, 13, said he was walking with a friend to his locker when a familiar voice behind him said, “Hey, Persian,” then, “Do you want to fight a black man?"
Crystal Lake School District 47 Superintendant Kathy Hinz said the incident happened in the school hallway as the boys were walking out of lunch. She said there is supervision at all times in the lunchroom and in the hallways.
Omid said the seventh-grader had in the past called him “Persian.” Omid said he told the other student he didn’t want to fight and then the boy called his mother a “rude name.”
The 13-year-old said he tried to nudge the boy away from him with his shoulder, but that the boy came up behind him, put him in a headlock, “slammed” him to the ground and repeatedly punched him, Omid said.
Omid's mother, Melissa Babakhani, said he suffered two broken collarbones in the attack. She's concerned that the injuries could hamper Omid, a competitive swimmer, in his athletic endeavors.
“(The attack was) out of the blue,” said Omid, who has been raised to walk away from taunts and fights. “I didn’t even expect it. I didn’t have time to defend myself,'' Omid said.
“By the time he took me down, my collarbones were already broken.”
He described the attacker as the same height as himself with a bit more muscle.
Police were immediately called on Monday, District 47’s Hinz said.
Melissa Babakhani said she and her husband Ben, who came to the U.S. from Iran 26 years ago, are distraught over what has happened. But an outpouring of love and support from the school, the swim team and the community has helped, she said.
The student accused in the attack is being held in juvenile detention in anticipation of an appearance in juvenile court. His name was not released because he is charged as a juvenile.
Hinz could not comment in detail on the case because it involves juveniles, but did say that the district would continue to work "collaboratively" with police and the McHenry County State's Attorney
"Something like this is unusual in any of our schools," Hinz said. "We don't see many fights and we don't see many events certainly of the severity of what occurred on Monday."
As a school district, the range of disciplinary action for such a situation is from suspension to expulsion, but hinz could not comment further as to how the school district would be dealing with the student charged in the attack.
Hinz said any acts of aggression, including verbal, should always be reported to an adult. At which time an investigation would be done to determine its severity and appropriate actions would be taken.
Hinz does not personally know Omid or his family but has been in touch with them.
"My heart goes out to them not only from the district, but as a parent," Hinz said. "We are doing everything we can ... to place student safety, Omid and everybody else, as a top concern and priority."email@example.com