School investigating after video shows 13-year-old with disabilities being attacked by other students

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CAMBRIA COUNTY, Pa. (WTAJ) — A Cambria County school district is investigating after a video posted on social media shows a middle school student being thrown to the ground.

The student being attacked in the video is 8th grader Deshea Smith. This happened on Thursday at the Penn Cambria Middle School. It shows Smith being punched and then thrown to the ground on school property. His attackers were using profanity and shouting racial slurs.

Smith’s mother and sister spoke exclusively with WTAJ’s Amanda Lee. His older sister, Aquilla Smith believes he’s being picked on because of his Autism, ADHD, and race. Deshea is one of few black students at the school. Aquilla says they’ve always had issues with discrimination in their predominately white town.

Deshea’s mother, Darcy Smith says “Something needs to change, its the same crew, same n-word… I’m over it.” She adds that this isn’t the first-time Deshea has dealt with this at Penn Cambria.
“We told the school last year that they were bullying. My son went to the principal, he went to teachers. I went to the principal and I went to teachers. “

Aquilla graduated from Penn Cambria last year. She is of mixed-race but says she still faced discrimination. “People would talk about me and say that I wasn’t allowed in this town…Not a single person stepped in to help my little brother as he’s being beaten up by a person who is bigger than him.”

Darcy tells us that she spoke with the principal shortly after and hasn’t gotten a clear answer as to what will happen next.

The school district’s Superintendent, William Marshal says he was told that Deshea’s incident was a fight and not bullying.

He released a statement saying: “I was made aware of an incident that occurred at PCMS yesterday afternoon and that a video was being circulated on social media. Our MS principal was immediately involved in the investigation. Penn Cambria takes all reports of bullying seriously and we will interview anyone that comes forward with information related to the incident.”

The investigation began on Thursday night and is still on-going.

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