Ballou student dies weeks after classroom attack; autopsy planned

WASHINGTON — A Ballou High School student has died several weeks after he was attacked in a classroom.

D.C. police said the 17-year-old student, whose name has not been released, died Monday evening at the hospital. An autopsy is scheduled to determine how he died.

In a statement to WTOP, police said they don’t know whether the attack is related to the student’s death.

The student was assaulted by two other individuals in “their” classroom at Ballou on Jan. 10. The student told police that he was hit in the face and body several times because he would not let the two assailants use his cellphone, according to a police report.

He also told police that he was sprayed with some kind of “perfume.”

The student made the police report the day after the attack. Nothing in the report suggests that he required medical attention nor does it detail the extent or nature of any injuries.

NBC Washington reported that the victim was a special needs student.

A D.C. Public Schools spokeswoman declined to comment and referred questions to police.

D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser acknowledged the student’s death during a morning event with the Council but she declined to speak about what transpired at the school.

“We don’t know yet and are not prepared to talk about what if anything happened at the school,” Bowser said. “One of our students passes away — obviously we are concerned about that student, the student’s family and the larger school community.”

A report issued earlier this month found that teachers were pressured by Ballou’s principal and other administrators to pass students despite their grade or the number of unexcused absences. The same report found that many of its 2017 graduates missed too much school to qualify for graduation or relied too heavily on make-up courses.

A Districtwide investigation found similar problems at all but two D.C. high schools — as many as one-third of all D.C. graduates last year had excessive absences or had violated the District’s credit recovery policy.

WTOP’s Kathy Stewart contributed to this report. 

Kristi King

Kristi King is a veteran reporter who has been working in the WTOP newsroom since 1990. She covers everything from breaking news to consumer concerns and the latest medical developments.

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