x Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 24 July 2017

Girl, 11, unconscious in hospital after school playground attack

Pupil suffers brain haemorrhage after squabble turns into violent beating by four boys.

Lujain Hussein was admitted to Sheikh Khalifa Medical Centre complaining of pain in her head, neck and back after the incident last Thursday.
Lujain Hussein was admitted to Sheikh Khalifa Medical Centre complaining of pain in her head, neck and back after the incident last Thursday.

ABU DHABI // An 11-year-old schoolgirl was unconscious in hospital last night after a playground squabble turned into a violent attack by four boys.

Lujain Hussein, who is Iranian, was admitted to Sheikh Khalifa Medical Centre complaining of pain in her head, neck and back after the incident last Thursday.

Doctors conducted a CT scan and found she had suffered a brain haemorrhage, which was successfully treated three days later. Her condition last night was described as stable. Her family said doctors are intentionally not allowing her to wake because she would feel too much pain.

The incident began as a quarrel between a group of boys and girls in the playground of Al Maali International School. It turned violent when Lujain was beaten by a group of boys from the fourth grade.

After the fight Lujain was taken to the school clinic complaining of stomach pains. The nurse asked her older sister, who is also a pupil at the school, to call their parents and tell them their daughter was unwell.

Hussein Abdullah, Lujain's father, said he arrived at the school to find his daughter "unconscious". "She would not move, open her eyes or respond to us calling her," he said.

"Every time I'd pick her up, she'd fall back down. The nurse gave her some water, and then she'd throw it up."

Lujain's condition did not improve at home, and her father took her to hospital two hours later.

School officials said the incident was a minor playground quarrel between two groups of pupils that escalated.

"It was a normal quarrel between schoolchildren that escalated when the boys pushed the girls," said Khadeeja Al Sayar, the school principal.

"Lujain was carrying a Barbican bottle at the time, which is not permitted on school grounds. Some of the boys claimed she also tried to hit them with the bottle."

However, the family immediately filed a complaint with police. On Friday, officers contacted the school and asked for the names of the boys involved. After an internal investigation, school officials identified four boys of mixed nationalities.

Mr Hussein said one of the boys pushed Lujain, causing her to hit a wall and fall on three other children. It was at this point that the four boys began attacking the girl, he said.

The boys and their parents were asked to attend a police station where they were questioned and required to sign a document promising that such behaviour would not be repeated.

Ms Al Sayar said Lujain had been complaining of stomach pain before the incident in the playground.

"She was complaining of nausea and had thrown up during her Islamic studies class before the break," she said.

"After the incident, she continued complaining about stomach pain at which point the teacher told her to go the nurse.

"I saw the girl and there were no apparent marks or bruises. She was also responsive when we called her name."

Mr Abdullah says he is concerned about the time it took the school to attend to his daughter's condition.

"Why did the school not call an ambulance immediately or admit her to hospital when they saw her state?" he said. "The school is all the way in Mussafah, so it takes us time to reach the school then take her to the hospital."

Police have told the family they will speak to Lujain when regains consciousness.

A spokesman for Abu Dhabi Education Council said they were investigating the incident and awaiting reports from the hospital and the police.

mismail3@thenational.ae