Mohammed Dukuly’s family says he has been working at the Harrison Education Center for about 10 years. He is also prominent member of the Liberian community, helping immigrants across the U.S.— Callan Gray (@CallanGrayNews) May 23, 2018
“He’s a very kind, compassionate human being” -said his uncle pic.twitter.com/SCn8jOp3ah
An 18-year-old white student in Minnesota allegedly beat an African-American teacher’s assistant brutally enough that the victim had to be placed on life support. However, in yet another example of white privilege, the assailant was soon allowed to leave the jail – without even posting any bail.
Mohammed Dukuly, who worked at Harrison Education Center, was beaten unconscious by Corey David Burfield of St. Paul, after which he was taken to Hennepin County Medical Center and was put in ICU on a ventilator.
While Dukuly, a paraprofessional working at the school for 10 years, struggled for his life in the hospital, the 18-year-old was charged with one count of first-degree assault and one count of third-degree assault, according to the Hennepin County Attorney’s Office.
However, at Burfield’s first court appearance in Hennepin County District Court, he was released without posting bail after his mother said she would “watch him.”
Apparently, Burfield’s mother’s assurance was convincing enough for District Judge William Koch to conclude he wasn’t a flight risk and release the teenager without bail.
According to the witnesses and surveillance cameras, the teen had walked up to Dukuly and knocked him to the ground where he punched him repeatedly. Burfield had to be “forcibly removed” from the teacher’s assistant who had lost consciousness by that point.
Minneapolis Public Schools Superintendent Ed Graff didn’t get into the specifics about the assailant but shed light on how Harrison is the most restrictive setting the district has to cater to students with emotional and behavioral problems. The students in the institute mostly come from broken or unstable families.
“Many of our students have emotional and behavioral needs and [that] leads to aggression,” Graff said.
During a news conference, the superintendent focused upon how such attacks highlight the need for mental health support for troubled students.
“My prayers are with Mr. Dukuly and his family, but what we need to talk about is the need we have in our schools,” he added.
Nevertheless, Dukuly’s friends and family, who held their breaths while the teacher clung to life on the hospital bed, were disappointed by the court’s decision.
“Quite frankly, we are disappointed,” said Imam Mohammed Dukuly, the victim’s uncle. “For a serious case like this, I think he should’ve been on bail.”
The family was also not satisfied with the district officials’ response and called on the management to “put measures in place to avoid such tragic incidents in the future, not just for the staff but for students as well.”
“He assaulted someone who could have died. We just can’t allow it,” said Hennepin County Attorney Mike Freeman of Burfield.
Fortunately, the paraprofessional made a dramatic recovery and was able to sit on his hospital bed and talk about the entire episode, which he still couldn’t fully comprehend.
“Thank God!” Dukuly murmured. “I don’t know what happened to me. I’m starting to know things for myself. Thank God!”
It is important to mention it wasn’t for the first time such a violent case of a student attacking teacher came to light at Harrison.
Back in 2016, a 17-year-old district student was charged with repeatedly punching Principal Monica Fabre in the face for which he pleaded guilty to felony third-degree assault and gross misdemeanor assault.
Earlier, a 14-year-old student was arrested after he reportedly subjected a female teacher to assault.
Daveona Jones, 18, who was one of the eye witnesses of the recent incident, said the teen’s attack on Dukuly was unprovoked. She also pointed out how the school lacked adequate safety measures besides making students pass through metal detectors and confiscating their cellphones.
“Dukuly is not the first one [assaulted]. He’s like the fifth,” Jones said. “It’s the school’s fault, and it’s Corey’s fault.”
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