She is a sweet 11 year old, with a gentle personality and a keenness to help others.
So when the Grade 7 pupil was beaten and as a result, suffered a brain haemorrhage, it came as a great shock to her family and friends.
“ Even though she is in Grade 7, Loujain is short and slim, so the boy and his friends were able to overpower her easily. They beat and kicked her everywhere… one even got a glass bottle and hit her on the head, her neck and back with it”
Mahran Hussain, older brother of Loujain
“Loujain is always helping us, often even spoiling us, even though she’s the youngest, so when we were told that she attacked, we were stunned,” Mahran Hussain, her older brother, told Gulf News.
The incident took place on Thursday, April 19 at the Al Ma’ali International Private School and the family is still struggling to understand exactly what happened.
“According to a friend of my other sister, Maram, who is in Grade 12, Loujain was with a friend when a Grade 4 pupil pushed her into a wall. Then, as she tried to regain her balance, she stumbled onto another Grade 4 boy who got angry,” Mahran, 22, said.
“Even though she is in Grade 7, Loujain is short and slim, so the boy and his friends were able to overpower her easily. They beat and kicked her everywhere… one even got a glass bottle and hit her on the head, her neck and back with it,” he added.
According to Mahran, witnesses told the family that no teacher or supervisor had attempted to stop the incident, despite several being in the same location.
Despite repeated attempts by Gulf News, the school’s principal was unavailable for comment at the time of going to print.
The nurse was allegedly not informed of the full details pertaining what had happened to Loujain, with Mahran saying she was only informed that his sister had been punched in the stomach and that was why she was vomiting.
“Maram’s friend came to her class and told her what happened. When Maram saw her condition, she called me and our mother. Our father immediately rushed to pick her up and take her to the hospital.”
Based on that information, doctors ran tests on her abdominal area but were stumped when they returned negative. It was only after witnesses began coming forward with additional information did doctors manage to catch Loujain’s brain injuries.
“The doctors then ran head scans and the haemorrhage appeared… We were told that there were only two options to treat her. The first was to use a new technique that uses a special type of glue to stop the nerves’ bleeding and the second was open brain surgery,” Mahran said.
“Based on the doctor’s advice, we went with the first option… but we are worried about any side effects she may experience, based on his assessment,” he added. The five-hour surgery took place at the Shaikh Khalifa Medical City (SKMC) on Monday. Loujain is now recovering in the hospital’s Intensive Care Unit (ICU).
“We visit her everyday… my mother hasn’t left her side. She is being kept under sedation because of concerns of how she will react to all the tubes around her,” Hussain said.
When contacted by Gulf News, officials from SKMC declined to comment.
Loujain’s father, a business investor who has lived in Abu Dhabi for over 35 years, filed a case against the school at Mussafah Police Station on Thursday.
“We are very angry with the administration because we found out that there were several teachers in that area but they did nothing. In fact, they kept trying to shift blame whenever someone tried to speak to them,” Mahran said.
An Adec representative said the council is investigating the matter and that a team from the Private School and Quality Assurance Sector was dispatched to the school. The representative said the council is awaiting further details from SKMC and the police.
The Abu Dhabi police also declined to comment.
— with inputs by Iman Sherif, Staff Reporter
Violence: worrying trend
Incidences of violence in schools have become widespread and they are triggered by psychological reasons, Dr Yousel Al Hadi, a psychiatrist at Al Noor Hospital, told Gulf News.
“Children brought up in an environment where parents fight constantly in front of them or where they beat them tend to become violent,” he said.
“Stress at home, at school or for other reasons also is a major factor contributing to violence. It was noticed also that children who eat food rich in fats or sugar are more prone to be violent,” he added.
He said children could imitate parents in having a bad temper, thus increasing their proclivity for violent behaviour.
“However, good parenting and positive environment can reverse this factor. It is important to ensure that children are not exposed to drugs, that they live in a nurturing and positive environment and eat the right food,” he concluded.