Teen With Special Needs Dies 19 Days After Being Attacked At School Because He Wouldn't Let Classmates Use His Phone

High angle shot of an unrecognizable man using a cellphone while working late in the office

Teen With Special Needs Dies 19 Days After Being Attacked At School Because He Wouldn't Let Classmates Use His Phone

Joevon Smith-Patterson was beaten by as many as three people at a time.

Published February 1st

A 17-year-old Washington, D.C., student with special needs was pronounced dead 19 days after he was reportedly attacked by classmates over a cellphone dispute. 

Joevon Smith-Patterson, who attended Ballou High School in Southeast Washington, D.C., died at a hospital Monday. Although authorities are awaiting the results of an autopsy to determine whether his death is connected to the Jan. 10 incident at his school, the case has been labeled a death investigation, reported the Washington Post.

No arrests have been made at this time.

According to a police report, as many as three people hit Smith-Patterson “several times in the face and body” because he would not allow two of the alleged attackers to use his cellphone. Smith-Patterson also said “he was sprayed about the body with ‘perfume.’”

The incident reportedly took place at the beginning of the school day on Jan. 10, yet Smith-Patterson did not report the attack to police until around 7:30 p.m. the next day. According to a police department spokesperson, the school did not notify the police of the incident.

In a letter to students, Katreena Shelby, Ballou’s interim principal, said “Joevon’s death is a devastating loss, and it is sure to raise many emotions, concerns, and questions from our entire school.”

Although Smith-Patterson was not taken to the hospital immediately following the attack, he was taken later, where he remained until he was pronounced dead, according to his mother, Rashonda Smith.  

Written by Rachel Herron

(Photo: PeopleImages/Getty Images)

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