Nina lives in fear of being sent back to El Salvador, particularly after her father was detained by immigration authorities. At school, she is extremely shy and withdrawn. Her quietness initially made her the target of bullying by some of the other girls at the school. Although she is usually very quiet, Nina feels a lot of rage bottling up inside of her. A few days ago, after a particularly hard day of bullying, Nina snapped and starting punching and kicking one of the girls teasing her. It took three adults to subdue Nina and the other girl had to be sent to the emergency room. The school principal suspended Nina and is considering expelling her because of the violence of the assault.
What should the principal do?
Nina Part II
Nina’s mother took her to a local clinic for a check-up so she can enroll in school. The doctor conducts a routine physical. She notices that Nina is overweight. The doctor asks Nina what she eats during the week. Nina says that she likes to eat ice cream because it makes her feel better. Her mother adds that, even though she is only 11, Nina can eat an entire pint of ice cream by herself. Nina’s mother also tells the doctor that Nina often gets headaches and has trouble concentrating on tasks at home. She is frustrated that Nina is not more helpful around the house.
What should the doctor do?
Nina Part I
Nina is 11 years old. She was born in El Salvador and lived there with her parents and older brother until she was eight. Two years ago, Nina was violently raped when her older brother refused to join the local gang. When he continued to refuse to join the gang, her brother was killed as a warning to others. Nina and her family fled to the United States and now live in Los Angeles. Although they have heard that other families have received asylum after fleeing El Salvador, they are worried that if their application is not granted, they will be deported.
Nina and her family often have very little money. Much of her family’s money is sent back to El Salvador to help provide for Nina’s aunts and cousins. Her father works at a restaurant and her mother works as a house cleaner. Six months ago, Nina’s father was stopped at a DUI checkpoint. When the authorities discovered that he was undocumented, he was turned over the immigration authorities and is now in detention awaiting his removal hearing. Nina has not seen her father because he is being held in a detention center 200 miles away. Since her father’s detention, Nina’s mother has struggled to provide enough food for the family.