By Madina Toure
A 16-year-old exchange student from China and her family have been frightened since the student was slashed by a vicious attacker while she was heading to school in Whitestone last week, according to state Assemblyman Ron Kim (D-Flushing), who has helped set up a special fund for the student and requested she be transferred to another school.
At about 8:15 a.m. Dec. 16, an unknown male approached the girl, who was on her way to Whitestone Academy, a private school at 150-34 12th Ave., from behind and slashed her with a box cutter, cutting her left cheek and throat, according to the police.
She was taken to Long Island Jewish Medical Center, according to Kim, who visited her at the hospital.
The student’s mother, a single woman who also has a 9-year-old son and lives with her own mother, is currently looking for a job back in China, Kim said. Both the victim and her family have been frightened, with the victim having nightmares.
“When she’s around her mother, it’s obvious she’s trying to be strong for her…but when she’s speaking privately and being honest, she’s completely traumatized,” Kim said.
His office has set up a special fund in conjunction with the office of lawyer Gary Park, who is helping on a pro bono basis. Only the victim will have access to the fund, which can be used for various expenses such as future surgeries, her education and traveling costs.
Kim wrote a letter to Mayor Bill de Blasio and City Schools Chancellor Carmen Farina on behalf of the family requesting she be transferred to a larger high school with better security. He said de Blasio’s office and the city Department of Education will reach out to the family to figure out a solution for the victim.
Wiley Norvell, a spokesman for de Blasio, said it will help the family.
“We are committed to the safety of all students,” Norvell said. “We will gladly assist this family as it seeks to enroll in a public school.”
Kim said the victim returned from the hospital Monday. More than 200 stitches were placed from the top of her face all the way down to her throat.
She is still unable to eat solid foods and cannot speak because moving her mouth hurts her throat, but her eyeglasses prevented the boxcutter from injuring her eye, the assemblyman added.
Kim said she has been attending Whitestone Academy for three months and is currently staying with a Chinese-American host family that lives near the school.
She is here on a permanent basis on a student visa, with plans to pursue her high school and college education in the United States, he said.
Kim said the victim’s mother has been friends with her host mother for a “really long time” and that when she visited several months ago, she was satisfied with the school and the neighborhood.
“She’s at a loss of words for what happened. I think everyone is,” he said. “This type of attack doesn’t happen around here.”
He said the school’s principal has reached out to the family and that students tried to deliver get well packages to the host family’s home. Whitestone Academy declined to comment.
The suspect, who was wearing white gloves and a white mask covering his face, was described as 6-foot-2 tall, wearing a gray hooded sweatshirt with a black stripe on the back and sleeves, black sweatpants, light socks and black sneakers, police said.
The boxcutter was recovered at the scene and the investigation was ongoing, the spokeswoman said.
Reach reporter Madina Toure by e-mail at mtour