PROSPECT, Conn. -- A father in Connecticut claims his two sons were the targets of intense bullying because they're Egyptian-Americans, according to WTIC.
"If you lose your kids or if your kids come and cries to you, what would you do?" said Hany Abraham, an Egyptian immigrant who has since became a citizen. "I want all parents to talk to their kids because the kids are getting bullied and it goes under the rug. Talk to your kids and ask them if they are being bullied."
Abraham says his sons -- 10-year-old Samuel and 6-year-old Raphael -- were being bullied at Prospect Elementary School because of how they look.
"It makes me say 'why was I born?' I wish I was just dead," described Samuel. "That's what bullies do. I think they just want to show everyone that they're tough and they'll do anything just to make them popular."
The family says the abuse has been both verbal and physical, ranging from profanities and name calling to racial slurs.
"I need to see changes. I need to see that people really care," said Abraham. "We're not in the Middle East here. We left our countries because we were persecuted as Christians, and now we're persecuted because we're foreigners? We're not foreigners for God's sake! We're U.S. citizens!"
The boys were being bullied on the school bus, but district officials made other arrangements for another bus to pick the kids up.
Regional District #16 Superintendent Michael Yamin says administrators acted as soon as they were made aware of the bullying, and Abraham is happy that he's starting to see results.
However, Abraham has kept his children out of school for the past week out of concern for their safety. He says he's filed a complaint with state authorities.
Superintendent Yamin sent the following statement to FOX 61:
The Region 16 Schools learned recently of an incident involving some of our students. As a school district, we do not and will not tolerate inappropriate conduct toward any of our students. That sort of conduct has absolutely no place in a school setting.
When we become aware that any inappropriate conduct may have occurred, we investigate the claim immediately, properly and thoroughly. In each situation, our goal is to provide for the wellbeing of all of our students, to educate students about appropriate and respectful behaviors, and to prevent any recurrence of inappropriate conduct.
As a result of the federal laws regarding student confidentiality, I cannot comment on any individual student or case as we are obligated to maintain the confidentiality of all information regarding any particular student. However, when we find after an investigation that any student has in fact been treated inappropriately in any way, we take appropriate action to address the matter.
Region 16 community members should be reassured that the safety of our children is the district’s foremost concern and there are many policies and procedures in place to ensure the wellbeing of all our children.
While the bullying has been going on for some time, Abraham first reached out to the public on December 5 on Twitter, asking dozens of organizations and politicians for help.
Since the Paris attacks on November 13 and the San Bernardino attack on December 2, bullying of Muslim and Middle Eastern children in the United States has skyrocketed according to Crisis Text Line, a text-message hotline.
According to CNN, the Crisis Text Line, which has existed for two years, searched its chat transcripts for mentions of the word “Muslim” and found a dramatic spike in November compared to previous months. These mentions mainly involve people self-identifying as Muslim and describing harassment.
The hotline says that so far, it appears that the dramatic increase will continue in December.