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The Foreign Exchange Student
by Lalleh Raffeei

I remember in the 4th grade, the teachers told us about someone new coming to the school, who barely know English and was a foreign exchange student.  At lunch, I saw her all alone, except for this girl who was sitting by her asking her to translate some curses.  She seems to be pretty nice.  She wore a hijab, which later on I found out was the reason that everyone made fun of her.  I decided that next day to sit next with her.

My friends warned me about sitting with her.  They said that she was a freak, and two of my friends never even talked to her because they didn't like her.  But I sat with her anyway, even with all the peer pressure.  Two of my friends left me.  Pretty soon, everyone started to make fun of me as well.  Finally the peer pressure got to me and was too embarrassed to be seen with her, so I stopped seeing her.  Later on, other students harassed her by tripping her in hallway, taking off her hijab and making impressions of her.  I never did all this to her, but felt guilty about leaving her.

I never saw her again but now realize that what I did was wrong.  I get the feeling of guilt whenever I think about her....














Islamic Society of Greater Richmond (ISGR)