The 12-year-old, who is African American, said three white male students held her down in a school playground a week ago during recess, covered her mouth, called her insulting names and used scissors to cut her hair.
The grandparents of the girl, who are her legal guardians, released an apology Monday.
“To those young boys and their parents, we sincerely apologize for the pain and anxiety these allegations have caused,” the grandparents wrote in a statement sent to The Washington Post by the school. “To the administrators and families of Immanuel Christian School, we are sorry for the damage this incident has done to trust within the school family and the undue scorn it has brought to the school. To the broader community, who rallied in such passionate support for our daughter, we apologize for betraying your trust.”
“We understand there will be consequences and we’re prepared to take responsibility for them,” the statement continued. “We know that it will take time to heal, and we hope and pray that the boys, their families, the school and the broader community will be able to forgive us in time.”
Messages left for family members seeking additional comment were not immediately returned.
The school’s principal, Stephen Danish, also issued a statement and sent an email to parents and community members.
“We can now confirm that the student who accused three of her classmates of assault has acknowledged that the allegations were false. We’re grateful to the Fairfax County Police Department for their diligent work to investigate these allegations,” Danish wrote. “While we are relieved to hear the truth and bring the events of the past few days to a close, we also feel tremendous pain for the victims and the hurt on both sides of this conflict. We recognize that we now enter what will be a long season of healing.”
Fairfax police launched an investigation into the incident last week after they were contacted by the girl’s family. The department said that they cannot comment on developments because the subjects involved are all juveniles.
The Fairfax County NAACP issued a statement thanking Fairfax County police for quickly launching an investigation of the alleged incident and the school for “being forthcoming and open” throughout the process.
The civil rights organization acknowledged the sixth-grader’s charge was false but cautioned against a rush to judgment about the validity of allegations of racial violence.
“Too often in these rare instances of fabricated hate crimes, critics use a broad brush to claim racially motivated crimes are virtually non-existent,” the organization stated. “This is demonstrably wrong. Data from numerous sources, including the Anti-Defamation League, the FBI, and the Justice Department, shows bias motivated crimes are on the rise, year over year.”
Immanuel Christian is a private K-10 National Blue Ribbon school with 469 students. Just under half the pupils are students of color, according to information provided by Immanuel officials. African American students account for 11 percent of the school population. Tuition for middle-school students is $11,500. Vice President Pence’s wife, Karen Pence, teaches art part time at the school in grades one through five.