State High Strong: Standing Together with Jason Anderson

Maya Yoxtheimer and Lena Clark

On Friday, October 13th during the State High football game, Jason Anderson, an eighth grader at Mount Nittany Middle School, was involved in an attack by another student of the State College Area School District on the 200 block of Fraser Street. We Are Central PA reported that Anderson was shot six times in the face and chest area and was taken into surgery for about five hours to remove the air soft pellets. Anderson eventually lost vision in his right eye. The State College Area School District has responded to the event by instilling new protocol to improve the safety of community events.

 

Both Memorial Field, the high school’s main athletic field, and Sidney Friedman Park are popular downtown hangouts for State High students, which is a major part of the reason that the assault on Anderson was so shocking. Sarah Paterno, a senior, said, “I walk through there a lot, so I was concerned, and I felt pretty upset afterwards.” When asked what the SCASD community can do to increase student safety, senior Patrick Jones-O’Brien said, “They could make more of an effort to dissolve bullying and cliques, because in the end, that’s the real problem here. Jason wouldn’t have been hurt if it weren’t for the bullying he experienced.”

 

The response from the community has been proactive and positive following the event. Learning Enrichment Teacher Mrs. Rand said, “I heard about it on the parents Facebook page for the district and I was really surprised.” While some community members believe increased security is the solution to the problem, Mrs. Rand said, “I’m not concerned about security, particularly not in our town. I may be naive, but I feel secure in this town and I would be more concerned that ramping up security would send a strong message to be afraid.” Many are concerned about community members being proactive when it comes to safety in our community. Rand stated, “One of the things that I saw repeatedly both from the school district’s parent Facebook page as well as the article about the event was that students were aware well in advance that this was a planned act and parents stated that their kids said that the boy showed off the gun at the game. It is distressing that students weren’t comfortable coming forward with that information.” State High teacher Mr. Regan added, “We just all need to be aware of what is going on around us. It’s a community effort.”

 

Since the incident, members of the community have started a fundraiser to support the medical expenses, with the remaining funds going towards Anderson’s future education. So far about thirty thousand dollars have been contributed. Additional donations can be made at this GoFundMe page: https://www.gofundme.com/support-for-jason-anderson-family

Jason Anderson was shot with an air gun on Friday October 13th nearby Memorial field, where many students spend their Friday nights at football games or other sports events. Since the attack, the SCASD community has rallied around Anderson and his family, raising nearly $30,000 for his medical expenses and future education.
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