CRYSTAL LAKE – A Hannah Beardsley Middle School student has been charged with a hate crime and aggravated assault after an alleged attack in a hallway left another student with two fractured clavicles.
Omid Babakhani, an eighth-grader at the school, suffered the injuries shortly after his lunch hour Monday when he said the other student put him in a headlock and slammed him onto the ground before delivering some punches.
Babakhani, whose father is from Iran, said the attack occurred when the other student yelled “Hey Persian” in his direction to get his attention. Babakhani said he ignored the comment, but the student then called Babakhani’s mother a derogatory name.
Babakhani said he then told the student to not talk about his mother. The student challenged Babakhani to a fight, who said he did not want to fight. When Babakhani turned to walk away, he said he was headlocked and slammed. Babakhani’s friend pulled the other student off.
“Occasionally I’ve gotten some comments, but I dismiss them. Words don’t hurt,” Babakhani said of previous bullying. “This is the first time I have ever been physically attacked.”
Crystal Lake police responded to the scene Monday where they arrested the aggressor and charged him with battery before releasing him to his parents. Police returned to the school Tuesday to investigate the situation with the district, the McHenry County State’s Attorney and juvenile Court Services.
The investigation resulted in increasing the charges from battery to the Class 3 felonies of aggravated battery and hate crime, according to a Crystal Lake police news release. The offender was then taken to Kane County Juvenile Detention Facility.
District 47 Superintendent Kathy Hinz said she could not give specifics because both students are minors, but “all available and necessary” disciplinary action has been taken.
Manoucher Babakhani, Omid’s father, said he was disappointed in the school’s handling of the situation and concerned with the lack of supervision in the hallways. But he said he has no plans to remove his son from the district.
“If a kid can jump on another kid and cause this kind of damage, that is my concern,” Manoucher Babakhani said. “He’s been taught to walk away from those situations and that’s what he tried to do.”
The two fractured clavicles will put a hold on Omid Babakhani’s swimming days. He competes with the Sage YMCA Piranhas swim team.
Omid Babakhani said he is determined to get back in the pool and back to Hannah Beardsley where he said he would still feel comfortable finishing middle school.
“I still have friends there,” he said.
The student charged will have his case heard in juvenile court.