Immanuel Christian School officials say the student has admitted to falsely accusing classmates of attacking her on the playground
A 12-year-old Virginia girl who accused her classmates of holding her down and cutting her hair now says she falsely accused the boys, according to a school statement.
The girl garnered public support last week when she spoke out about the alleged attack, in which she said three boys at Springfield’s Immanuel Christian School attacked her and cut her dreadlocks.
Now, school officials say she “has acknowledged that the allegations were false.”
“To those young boys and their parents, we sincerely apologize for the pain and anxiety these allegations have caused,” her family said in a statement released through the school on Monday. “To the broader community, who rallied in such passionate support for our daughter, we apologize for betraying your trust.”
The statement continues: “We understand there will be consequences, and we’re prepared to take responsibility for them. 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.”
The girl said she was on the playground last week when the three sixth-graders allegedly attacked.
She said one boy covered her mouth and another held her down while a third boy used scissors to cut off her dreadlocks.
“They kept on laughing and calling me names and everything,” she told WUSA through tears. ” ‘Ugly,’ ‘I shouldn’t have been born’ … They took big chunks of my hair and just cut … No one should be treated that way.”
The incident prompted an assault investigation by the Fairfax County Police Department.
“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,” school officials said in a statement to PEOPLE. “We recognize that we now enter what will be a long season of healing.”
“This ordeal has revealed that we as a school family are not immune from the effects of deep racial wounds in our society,” school officials continued in their statement. “We view this incident as an opportunity to be part of a learning and healing process, and we will continue to support the students and families involved.”
At the time, school officials said the three boys accused had “stepped away” from the private Christian school amid the investigation.
“We take seriously the emotional and physical well-being of all our students, and have a zero-tolerance policy for any kind of bullying or abuse,” school officials said in the previous address.