The State College Chapter of the NAACP launched a GoFundMe campaign on Monday for a student involved in an assault last week at State College Area High School.
The campaign, which has raised more than $1,900 within hours of its inception, aims to raise money to help the family of a 16-year-old black student pay legal fees after an altercation on Feb. 1. According to the GoFundMe, the student was criminally charged after a physical altercation with a white student who “passed around photos with Nazi insignia and the N-word on his right arm.”
The Center Daily Times could not immediately confirm the charges against the student. Center County District Attorney Bernie Cantorna declined to comment Monday. State College Police were unable to comment immediately.
“All involved are minors, which complicates matters when releasing information,” Borough Police Lt. Greg Brauser wrote in an email.
Center County Probation and Parole Director Ryan Smeltzer, who heads the department responsible for all juvenile matters in the county, was unable to comment on specific allegations.
The assault took place on Feb. 1 and was linked to a “racist and anti-Semitic photo,” Superintendent Bob O’Donnell wrote in a Monday update to the board.
“The photo, which was taken at the school months ago, contained racist language and a symbol of hate and anti-Semitism,” O’Donnell wrote, adding that the district was unaware of the incident. the photo before the assault.
“In the days and weeks ahead, our high school will prioritize facilitating conversations within the State High community to work to further prevent acts of bias and hate and improve our school climate,” O wrote. ‘Donnell.
The GoFundMe was organized on behalf of Jeanelle Mitchell, who was part of a 2018 mini-documentary about people who said they faced racism and pushback in the State College area school district. In the film, she described her move from Brooklyn, New York, to State College, where her children faced bullying and discrimination.
“As a parent working regularly in the community, without notoriety… we are tired. I am tired. I’m tired of repairing the damage done to the school, a safe place, a place to educate,” she said during a panel discussion on the film.
An email sent Monday morning from Lorraine Taylor, president of the State College Chapter of the NAACP, urged the public to show support for the student who has been indicted.
“The impact of SCASD’s action against this 16-year-old black youth will be disastrous for this young man,” Taylor wrote.
Assault and any type of harassment, including ethnic bullying or the use of racial slurs, results in a minimum five-day suspension out of school, O’Donnell wrote in a letter to high school parents the week last.
The district has a board meeting at 7 p.m. Monday night, which NAACP members will be in attendance, Taylor said.
This story was originally published February 7, 2022 5:12 p.m.