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AASD student allegedly assaulted after school

An Altoona Area Junior High School student was assaulted on his way home from school Friday by three other students, leaving him bloodied and at the hospital with a broken nose and other injuries, his family told the Mirror.

According to the student’s grandfather, Don Bowers, the student was about a block away from school when he was “jumped” by three older students. Pictures taken by Bowers and presented to the Mirror show the teen in the hospital with a broken nose and bloody face with several lacerations allegedly suffered in the assault.

The 13-year-old was allegedly kicked while he was on the ground, and Bowers said that was the most concerning and upsetting part about the attack.

“You hit someone and you knock them down, you don’t kick them and keep on beating them,” Bowers said, “unless you don’t care about human life. They could have killed him.”

The confrontation was broken up when a Logan Township patrol officer drove up, causing the three attackers to scatter and flee the scene, Bowers said, adding he was extremely thankful for the timing and intervention of the officer.

“If it hadn’t been for that officer coming through, he could have been killed,” Bowers said.

Bowers said that earlier in the week, the student had been taken home by security or police following a different situation, so there had been previous altercations involving the student.

Since the assault allegedly happened near the school, it was within the Altoona Police Department’s jurisdiction. Attempts by the Mirror to reach the department for comment were unsuccessful.

According to Bowers, the student’s girlfriend was able to identify the suspects and Albert Wilson, a family friend with whom the student is currently staying, said the situation has been “taken care of” by police.

When contacted Monday afternoon, Paula Foreman, community relations director at the Altoona Area School District, said that she had not heard about this particular altercation, but she said the district would defer the investigation to the police department and follow its progress. She said the district could not comment further on an ongoing investigation.

In the 2019 Pennsylvania Youth Survey of Blair County students, out of the students who said they had skipped school out of fear of bullying, nearly 70% said that they had been severely depressed every day for two weeks straight. Of the same sample group, more than 51% had said they seriously contemplated suicide in the past year.

Bowers said he understands that the district can’t prevent every instance of bullying, but if the district has a “no-tolerance” approach to bullying, he wants more accountability and action.

“They knew about this,” Bowers said. “I know they can’t be everywhere, they don’t have enough staff. Here’s the end result.”

Mirror Staff Writer Nate Powles can be reached at 814-946-7466.

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