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Latina Lista: News from the Latinx perspective > Life Issues > Children > Texas middle school student lies about Hispanic classmates beating her up over anti-illegal immigration poster

Texas middle school student lies about Hispanic classmates beating her up over anti-illegal immigration poster

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 Bowers
(Source: wltx.com)

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.
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Melanie shows the camera her scratch marks that she says some fellow students gave her.
(Source: wltx.com)

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 — 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 — 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.

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  • Avatar
    April 9, 2008 at 7:36 pm

    The young woman was obviously wrong to create such a phony event. Hopefully, her parents will address the issue quickly and properly.
    Those of us who firmly believe that illegals should be repatriated to their country of origin with all due speed don’t need this kind of behavior, although I do understand her disgust.

  • Avatar
    April 9, 2008 at 7:44 pm

    This eighth grade Anglo girl has already been well-schooled in hate. And after seeing some of the outrageous comments that were posted on first news article at the Houston Chronicle web site that advocated violence against Latinos, it is easy to see where it comes from.

  • Avatar
    April 9, 2008 at 9:16 pm

    First let me say that it was dishonest for Melanie to do what she did. She should be punished for it and apologize to the students and the faculty.
    Now moving along, I disagree that her project was inappropriate for a middle school student. If memory serves me correctly the projects were supposed to be about issues facing us in our country today.
    I don’t get how someone can say that her sign showing her disapproval of illegal immigration indicates that she doesn’t have a high opinion of Latinos. Are we trying to mix apples and oranges here again? Legal vs illegal? Latinos are not the only illegals in this country either.
    Excuse me but illegals are not Americans and shouldn’t be treated as such. It isn’t about fear it is about our immigration laws.
    I am puzzled why you would equate a dislike for illegal immigration to a dislike for Latinos in general? I know of no one who doesn’t respect law abiding Latino citizens or legal immigrants.
    We anti’s get chastized all the time with the false accusation that we lump all Latinos together whether they be legal or illegal and yet you do so yourself right here.

  • Avatar
    April 9, 2008 at 9:49 pm

    “This eighth grade Anglo girl has already been well-schooled in hate. And after seeing some of the outrageous comments that were posted on first news article at the Houston Chronicle web site that advocated violence against Latinos, it is easy to see where it comes from.”
    Obviously this single event is definitive proof that there’s widespread hatred towards Hispanics in middle schools. And I could search the internet and find dozens of illegal immigrants who’ve committed crimes, to prove that all illegal aliens are criminals. You people are engaging in the same aggressive stereotyping of some of your opposition. Making a issue of this indicates that Marisa is running out of real news to report.

  • Avatar
    Maegan la Mala
    April 10, 2008 at 7:22 am

    What people continue to fail to recognize is that no Latino wears a sign proclaiming their status. What happens in hate crimes is that it is assumed that the Latino is undocumented. It’s happened in my family. It’s happened in my neighborhood. It’s happened to me.

  • Avatar
    April 10, 2008 at 8:12 am

    It is a single incident anyway. I am sure we Anglo’s and Blacks can come up with a single incident or more of a Latino (legal or illegal) doing something similar or worse. It’s all bad anyway. It doesn’t indicate a hate for a certain race or ethnicity in general.

  • Avatar
    April 10, 2008 at 3:07 pm

    “This eighth grade Anglo girl has already been well-schooled in hate.”
    I love this blog. It’s so delightfully schizophrenic. It advocates for the Latino ethnic group, yet condemns Americans who advocate for their group.
    No doubt the girl turned to fraud out of pure frustration at watching her ethnic group being ethnically cleansed from Texas while nothing is done about it. When she tries bring the issue out with a poster, she is silenced.

  • Avatar
    April 10, 2008 at 4:05 pm

    I started seeing reports of the girl´s allegations on Monday. The story was picked up immediately by the local newspaper. Various ANTI blogs got wind of it and spread it to Michele Malkin, Beck and Dobbs who published the accusations as facts and encouraged their commenters to post hateful comments towards not only illegal immigrants but to ALL Latinos in general. Some of these comments included putting all the 21 innocent children on suspension and or jail immediately and deporting them to Mexico even though all were citizens.
    I joined some of the discussion boards and attempted to bring reason and logic back to the discussion.
    My quotes: “Innocent until proven guilty” “let the police investigate” were my words the angry commenters did not want to hear. Instead they called me the usual names ANTIs toss at anyone with different opinions than theirs including “ethno-centric” “la raza” “rule of law” and names much too profane to print here.
    Melanie was not the guiltiest party here. I blame the hate mongers like Malkin, Dobbs and Beck. They encourage their viewers to spew hate.
    This whole story PROVES the ANTI comprehensive Immigration Reform crowd is NOT about rule of law. They are about RACISM Against all Latinos!
    Shame on them!!

  • Avatar
    April 10, 2008 at 5:32 pm

    Maegan, that is one of the unfortunate outcomes of illegal immigration since most illegals are Latinos/Mexicans. This isn’t a widespread problem, however. There are only a few radicals out there who hate all Latinos just because of that.
    Really, if so many legal Latinos didn’t stick up for the illegals rather than joining their non-latino citizens in ridding ourselves of illegals in this country you would probably see a change of heart with the radicals and how many citizens view latinos. They would see that Latino citizens do care about their country rather than some ethnocentric agenda. When is that going to happen?

  • Avatar
    April 10, 2008 at 8:26 pm

    Whats the matter Dee, you can’t refute anything I said on your blog so you come here? Malkin presented the article, she has a disclaimer on her site, yet to you she claimed it as fact? She is the same as you and Marrisa, a blogger who reported a story. Your accusations are more fallacies of your own perpetuated racial division. Malkin at least got the story correct in its accusations, whereas you and Marrisa have embellished and added trigger words of hate to incite further racial division. You are nothing more than wooden puppets, I here Pinochio is looking for a girl friend to measure his nose against.

  • Avatar
    April 10, 2008 at 8:57 pm

    Apparently some folks are disputing the sequence of events for this story.
    Here is Melanie in her own words, on video.

  • Avatar
    April 11, 2008 at 12:27 pm

    I was shocked when I heard this on the news but when I saw her interview I noticed something apparently the news crew didn’t. She didn’t look traumatized and her injuries didn’t match the beating she claimed.
    What she did is unfathomable, does anyone remember the movie Rosewood? What started out as a lie could have erupted into a full citywide riot that could have easily spread to other cities.
    She picked students out of a year book and accused them of being the attackers.
    Her parents were upset and wanted this to be treated as a hate crime. I agree with them, the lie their daughter told for whatever reason could have ended up with deadly results and millions of dollars in property damage. Send a message now, hate goes both ways and it must be stopped.

  • Avatar
    April 11, 2008 at 1:39 pm

    chamaca loco

  • Avatar
    April 11, 2008 at 6:38 pm

    I have read some comments that she had a bad upbringing and that her family taught her hate. Well I guess this puts that lie to rest, doesn’t it? Her own parents want her held responsble for a hate crime! So much for slamming the parents along with the girl.

  • Avatar
    April 11, 2008 at 8:31 pm

    “..,,the lie their daughter told for whatever reason could have ended up with deadly results and millions of dollars in property damage.”
    How is this? This is pure exaggeration, as there’s nothing to indicate that a riot would’ve ensued from this stupid stunt.
    “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.”
    This commentary is also an exaggeration, based upon facts not in evidence. Marisa, you read between the lines to support your preconceived notions. Your reporting shows a deep bias to believe the worst case and not as how things actually are. Rather than use conditionals, you make statements as if you have done studies resulting in proven facts that support your conclusion. You do this all the time, and sometimes, as in the Homeland Security-Blogger case, you’ve had to make apologies. This doesn’t speak much for your credibility, as you appear to be making cheap, thoughtless off-the-cuff remarks.

  • Avatar
    April 11, 2008 at 8:42 pm

    Horace is right. Taking this incident as proof positive that all 13 year olds are schooled in hatred is as valid as saying that some illegal aliens who show up as DWIs in the news prove that illegal aliens in general are drunkards and hazards to the public health. How ironic that those who would chastise white folks for stereotyping commonly use it themselves.

  • Avatar
    April 15, 2008 at 12:39 pm

    Horace, do you not remember what happened with the Jena 6 incident?
    Illegal immigration is already a hot topic and adding lies like this to the mixture is a volcano waiting to explode. True, there was no indication a riot was about to happen but it could have. Today’s society is so violent prone that it doesn’t take much for some to kill someone else.
    The news should be ashamed of themselves for jumping on this without proper investigation of the facts and reporting it as though it was. They are just as much to blame as that ignorant 13 year old kid.

  • Avatar
    May 29, 2008 at 4:56 pm

    Remember, an illegal alien is in fact a criminal. Hence the term “illegal”. Our borders should be protected from any person whose presence here will affect our economy or safety. That being said keep in mind that no matter where the illegal comes from they are still a person and should be delt with accordingly. If you are not 100% native American you are part of the immagration process, let all visitors enter our country like our families did.

  • Avatar
    May 29, 2008 at 5:30 pm

    As for her crime, she should be held to the letter of the law. Was it a hate crime? There is no one that can answer that but her, if in fact it was then she should be held accountable. I think that she was lashing out who she thought was guilty for taking her poster and tattle-tlling would not have been the “cool” thing to do so created some “Drama” that got out of control. Find here guilty of that and call the suspention of the boys “time served” for their part and move on. No need to hang her on the court house steps, the more the media focuses on this the more aggression will build in both races.

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