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Syrian refugees attacked at UK school

Videos of two siblings who are refugees from Syria being bullied at a UK school sparked outrage on social media. CNN's Samuel Burke reports.

Posted: Dec 1, 2018 12:01 PM
Updated: Dec 1, 2018 12:15 PM

The sister of a schoolboy, a refugee from Syria who was attacked in an incident shared widely on social media, was also bullied at the same British school, according to the family's lawyer.

New footage emerged Wednesday showing a teenage girl in a pink hijab being shoved by teenagers. She is then pushed to the ground.

Earlier this week, footage emerged showing the 14-year-old girl's 15-year-old brother being taunted, grabbed and pushed to the ground as other students looked on.

It is not yet clear who filmed the incident, which occurred at a school in Huddersfield, northern England.

West Yorkshire police said in a statement that it is was aware "aware of a video showing a girl being assaulted at Almondbury Community School" and was "now liaising with the girl's family."

A lawyer representing the family of the boy, London-based Mohammed Akunjee, confirmed to CNN that the police statement refers to the boy's sister.

The video of the Syrian boy's alleged assault prompted widespread condemnation and an online fundraising effort had reached £124,464 (about $159,000) by Thursday morning, two days after being launched.

The boy told ITV News that the alleged attack left him scared of going to school. "I woke up at night and just started crying because of this problem... They think I am different, different from them" he said.

"I don't feel safe at school. Sometimes I say to my dad I don't want to go to school anymore," he added.

"I was disappointed when I came to the UK because I was thinking my life is going to be good, my future is going to be really good if I study at school. And I didn't achieve any of that."

West Yorkshire police said Wednesday that a 16-year-old youth had been interviewed and reported for summons for assault, and that he would appear at a juvenile court in due course.

"The incident occurred on 25 October this year and has been subject to thorough investigation since it was reported to us the day after. The victim and his family are receiving ongoing support from police and other agencies," the police said.

The police also confirmed that the Syrian boy, seen in the video with a cast on his left forearm, had a wrist injury from a "previous unconnected incident" on October 7. Three youths were interviewed over that incident.

"There was no further police action and the matter was referred to the school," the police said.

Akunjee told CNN that the family fled from Homs in Syria to Lebanon. They settled in Huddersfield under a UN program in 2016.

In a Twitter post, Huddersfield MP Barry Sheerman described the video as "absolutely shocking."

"Have been supporting the family since it was first brought to my attention. Understand from council that the school have taken strong action. Will be following up to ensure all available support is being given!" he wrote.

The school describes itself as "inclusive" on its website.

Its head teacher, Trevor Bowen, said in a statement that the safety and welfare of students was the school's "number one priority" and that the "situation is being taken extremely seriously."

"Since the incident occurred in October, the school, the local authority and the police have all taken action. We must allow the legal process to take its course, but I want to be absolutely clear that we do not tolerate unacceptable behavior of any sort in our school."

Mohammed Tahir, who set up the GoFundMe fundraising campaign, said in a statement posted on Twitter: "I'm overwhelmed by the support that we've received and I can't thank everyone enough for the generous donations they have made.

CNN's Samuel Burke contributed to this report.

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