ABU DHABI // The school where an 11-year-old girl was beaten and severely injured could be shut down.
A team from Abu Dhabi Education Council has been investigating Al Maali International Private School since Lujain Hussein was attacked by four boys in the school playground on April 19.
"If findings show that any school failed to provide the required type of monitoring, inspection, safety and security required, Adec has the right to take all necessary steps as stipulated in the current laws and regulations … and it may get to the closure of such a school according to the magnitude of the violation committed by its management," Adec said today.
Khadeeja Al Sayar, the school principal, said: "We're not the first or the last school that had an incident like this. Similar incidents have taken place in other schools, and they have not been shut down, nor have they attracted such media attention."
After the attack Lujain was admitted to Sheikh Khalifa Medical City with a brain haemorrhage. Tests also found arteriovenous malformation, a congenital condition affecting blood supply to the brain.
Lujain is still being treated in hospital, where her family says she is making progress. She is no longer in a medically induced coma, but is sedated at night.
Adec said today its team was investigating only health and safety measures taken by the school, and any criminal aspect was a matter for the police and court investigations.
Mrs Al Sayar insists the school did nothing wrong. She said supervisors were in the playground when the incident occurred, but the playground is large and it was not possible for supervisors to be everywhere at once.
"It all happened in the matter of a minute, and by the time the supervisors were notified and went to the location, the bell rang and everyone went to their classes," she said.
"If we were wrong, then we would definitely listen to the council's requests and implement them. And if there is a major accident, we would immediately call an ambulance.
"But we did not make a mistake and this approach with all the media attention and involving everyone is not necessary. We need to focus on the girl's health and stop saying 'if'."
Mahran Hussein, Lujain's brother, welcomed the Adec investigation and said it was "to be expected".
"This is how it should be," he said. "A school has two responsibilities - to raise responsible students and to educate. If a school fails in either one of the two, it should be closed."
Mr Hussein, 22, said he wished no harm towards the four boys, aged about 9, who attacked his sister.
"We were surprised to find out from police papers that they were investigating the children. We don't want them to go to jail," he said.
"The children are still young and it is the school and the parents who could have prevented this horrible incident from taking place. They should be held responsible for what happened."
Two of the boys have taken leave of absence for relief from the "psychological implications" of the incident. The other two are still attending classes.
It is necessary to let the public know about such cases to prevent others from falling victim to such behaviour, Mr Hussein said.
"If we don't speak out about this now, then who will?" he said. "When my sister was admitted to hospital, we were told she might die. Now she is doing better, thank God, but we don't want to see another child in the same situation."