EXCLUSIVE: Mother says daughter was attacked at school because ‘she wasn’t Muslim’

Savage police are investigating. 

Shawna Larson told Liz Collin Reports about the disturbing details of the attack that she says took place on Monday, April 29 at Hidden Valley Elementary in Savage. (Photos provided to Alpha News)

A Minnesota mom is demanding answers after she says her nine-year-old daughter was jumped on the school playground by a group of girls who she was told targeted her daughter because “she wasn’t Muslim.”

Shawna Larson told Liz Collin Reports about the disturbing details of the attack that she says took place on Monday, April 29 at Hidden Valley Elementary in Savage.

Larson said her daughter’s third-grade teacher and principal approached her in the school pickup line after school to tell her what had happened.

“They came up to my vehicle and informed me that there was an incident at school that day. They wanted to make it very apparent that my daughter didn’t do anything to cause this, and they told me this was a calculated incident and that she had been attacked on the playground by four other students in her grade,” Larson said.

“I ended up learning … this was due to her race and her religion because she wasn’t Muslim. So that was pretty jarring to hear,” she added.

Larson said she was also told by a teacher that the girls said this was why they decided to beat her up.

It wasn’t until the next day when her daughter started to bruise that Larson realized the severity of her injuries.

“That’s when we noticed that she had a black eye, and we immediately took a picture of it. When she came home that day, I just kind of looked her over and she had bruises on her arms and a bruise on her back, bruises all over her legs,” Larson said.

Larson said her daughter began bruising the day after. (Photo provided to Alpha News)

Larson’s daughter told her that the girls pulled her down by the hair and started punching and kicking her.

“She told me she tried to get up and when she tried to get up and go for help the first time, and I believe it was the first time that they had gotten her on the ground, that she was trying to fight back and they had told her that if she hit them or she touched them, that they would hurt themselves and tell the teacher that she had hurt them. So, she just told me, ‘You know, so all I could do there is lay there, Mom,’” Larson said.

“I was informed that on the camera footage it showed them going up to her and punching her in the face and her hitting back and then she runs off and they run after her and then that’s when all of them go out of camera view and that’s when the initial attack happens is what the principal told me,” she continued.

Larson decided to report the attack to the Savage Police Department after she said the district did not.

“My daughter hadn’t done anything to initiate this or create what had happened. This was just because of her race and her religion. So that was a big thing. Just the lack of action the school was taking, which I do understand to a point that the school has their own rules and their own laws that they have to follow. But the fact that because this was race and religion fueled, the fact that they were never suspended or expelled from school or redirected to distance learning instead of continuing to stay in the classroom, which two of them were in the same classroom as my daughter, is alarming, regardless of their age,” Larson said.

Larson said the attack took place on Monday, April 29 at Hidden Valley Elementary in Savage. (Screenshot/ISD191.org)

The Burnsville-Eagan-Savage School District sent the following statement to Alpha News when asked what, if any, punishment the students faced.

“We can’t share any private data about students, including specifics about student behavior or discipline. Student and staff safety is our top priority, and we take any incident that could endanger others very seriously. We’re committed to working with families as we do that, and as always, we follow our established policies and procedures when it comes to student behavior, which are outlined in the board-approved student handbook.”

Alpha News has also confirmed the Savage Police Department is investigating.

“Originally, we were told that this was being taken very seriously, that they were going to be doing some investigation. This was the day of the incident and that a bullying report would be filed. That was all that was said the initial day,” Larson said.

Now, she says her daughter has switched classes to finish out the school year.

“Originally, I did not want my daughter to switch classes. I thought that if anybody should have to switch classes, it should have been the students who attacked my daughter because I feel like her having to move is telling her that she did something wrong and she didn’t do anything wrong. She just was outside playing on the playground that day. But ultimately, it came down to her just not feeling safe and we let this be her decision and her decision was that she wanted to move because she didn’t feel safe,” Larson said.

“The sad thing is this isn’t just happening to my daughter. This is happening to hundreds, thousands of kids all over the country and it’s the lack of consequences kids have nowadays to their actions that is creating bigger issues in schools,” Larson said.

Larson also believes the circumstances would be different if it were Christian students who attacked a Muslim student at an elementary school.

“This would be all over national news. You know, and it shouldn’t be that way. Our children shouldn’t even be in the media for stuff like this in the first place,” she said. “The same outrage should be there for every child because no child should be attacked on a playground and made to feel unsafe at school because her attackers are still there.”


Liz Collin

Liz Collin has been a truth-teller for 20 years as a multi-Emmy-Award-winning reporter and anchor. Liz is a Worthington, Minnesota native who lives in the suburbs with her husband, son and loyal lab.