LatinaLista — Last week, 13-year-old Melanie Bowers, of Athens, Texas, created a poster for a U.S. History class assignment. Her homework was to pick an issue and create a protest poster either for or against the particular issue.
Melanie chose a topic that she hears about pretty regularly living in Texas — illegal immigration.
So she created a poster that read: “If you love our nation, stop illegal immigration.”
According to Melanie, she brought her homework to school and was showing it to some classmates when about 20 people surrounded her and started scratching her and grabbing at her and the poster. She said that several boys threatened to rape and kill her.
Three Latino boys were given in-school suspension over the incident.
The story has been fanned by FOX NEWS and other anti-illegal immigration sites.
Melanie shows the camera her scratch marks that she says some fellow students gave her.
There’s only one problem with the story — this innocent 13-year-old lied about being beaten up.
Unfortunately for her, the attack was caught on school surveillance cameras, and it showed quite clearly that Melanie scratched herself to make people think she had been attacked by these boys over her poster.
Athens school officials have said that the three Latino teens who received in-school suspension will continue with the suspension because they did take the poster away.
Yet, school officials have asked the local police department to file charges against Melanie for filing a false report.
It’s a sad situation for that girl and one that needs answers to questions: Was Melanie so enraged that these boys took her poster that she scratched herself and blamed them to get even?
Did Melanie purposely try to provoke a fight with the Latino students by choosing that particular issue and openly displaying her poster before class?
Why would Melanie think it’s ok to falsely accuse a group of Latino teens in the first place?
When the incident first came to light, the Superintendent of the Athens School District said the class project was not appropriate for middle school students. He said the immigration issue has become so politicized and polarizing that “it’s much more than illegal now. It just becomes sinister and evil.”
Of course, this was said before it was discovered Melanie made up the attack. Yet, his words are just as true now. It was a sinister and evil act to falsely accuse others of hurting her. Obviously, from her choice of issues and her accusations, Melanie doesn’t have a high opinion of Latinos.
Her actions actually underscore the bigger problem in this whole debate of illegal immigration â€” it’s not so much the issue, as the people.
Because there exists a mindset to fear the presence of undocumented immigrants, it has become acceptable to treat them less than any American â€” deny them any opportunity to make a livelihood, have shelter or medical care or to defend themselves. And when they are caught, they must be branded a criminal to make the statement true that criminals are crossing our borders.
Melanie Bowers may only be 13-years-old but she has successfully internalized the lessons of our time when it comes to illegal immigration and how to look at Latinos.
She represents the future of this nation.
It’s time to decide if this is the kind of future we want for this country and if it’s too late to change the course.