Investigations complete for alleged assault and racism at Gilbert High School
GILBERT (3TV/CBS 5) - The Gilbert Public School District and Gilbert Police Department have released their findings of an investigation started last week regarding the alleged assault and racial discrimination of a Gilbert High School football player.
Senior Deion Smith claims he was racially targeted and assaulted after a practice. But the district and Gilbert Police have announced no charges have been filed. Despite being disappointed in the investigation’s findings, Smith plans to continue his fight to raise awareness about what he says is a larger issue at Gilbert High School. “I’ve got to stand on something,” he said. “Rather than stand on nothing.”
A Gilbert Public Schools spokesperson says the district can’t share specifics regarding disciplinary actions. Still, Smith says both he and the other football player in the altercation received ten-day suspensions. “At the end of the day, he got ten days, I got ten days,” Smith said. “And it doesn’t make sense on this part of the end. But on that part of the end, it could make sense.”
On Monday, the school district released the following statement to Arizona’s Family:
Deion’s mother, April Miles, has a hard time believing that after she says Gilbert’s head coach Derek Zellner didn’t help Deion after his tooth was knocked out. “What other reason besides his race would Coach Z deny medical help to my son?” Miles asked.
Arizona’s Family attempted to reach out to Zellner to hear his thoughts on the investigation but wasn’t able to reach him.
In the meantime, other Gilbert students joined Smith in pushing for change in the district. “I’ve only been there since the beginning of this year,” student Sydney Whiteside said. “And almost every day, I heard at least one racist joke, or one homophobic or transphobic joke.”
“The way they’re handling things, it’s like they’re trying to sweep things under the rug or handling it the wrong way,” student Amir Pierson added. “They’re showing that they’re allowing this culture to go on at Gilbert.”
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