HUNTSVILLE, AL (WAFF) - A 15-year old Huntsville boy is in the hospital with a severe head injury following an incident at Jemison High School involving a security guard.
As he continues to recover, loved ones are upset and concerned about what happened.
Zach Finey has formed a very strong bond with Steven Franklin through the Big Brothers Big Sisters organization, and Finey says he's having a hard time wrapping his mind how the sophomore ended up with extremely serious injuries.
"As far as what we've been told by his classmates, there was an altercation between him and a couple of other students. The fight was broken up by a security guard at the high school and the security guard body-slammed him into the concrete outside," Finey stated.
Finey shared video from the encounter capturing the scuffle between students on Monday. Steven is shown is up against a wall, the security guard standing in front of him. In another video, Steven is unconscious on the ground.
"He landed on the side of his head. It caused a cracked skull and internal bleeding. He had emergency surgery Monday night and he's currently in the ICU," Finey revealed.
Steven has lots of swelling on the side of his head from his injuries, and now that he's conscious in the hospital, he's asking questions his loved ones also want answers to.
"He's been a lot more inquisitive as far as being able to put sentences together and ask questions. He wants to know: 'What did I do to get here? What happened to me?' He has no recollection of the altercation. All he remembers is waking up after the surgery. He had a 30 second seizure at the high school and was unconscious until he got to the hospital," Finey added.
Steven has a long road to recovery. Doctors don't yet know the long term effects of his injuries. On Wednesday, the teen walked for the first time since the incident.
His family and friends want to know why such force was necessary.
"I would say that's extremely aggressive and unnecessary. I can't think of any scenario where the answer is, we should probably body-slam this 150 lb. kid on the side of his head into the concrete," Finey added.
Huntsville City Schools released the following statement in the wake of the incident, explaining that it is under investigation and the security officer is not at the school:
"He has swelling on the right side of his head that's like the size of a cantaloupe. It's gigantic. He has tubes in his head to try to drain the blood," Finey said.
Steven was moved out of the Intensive Care Unit at Huntsville Hospital on Wednesday. Friends of the family indicated that he is confused, but responsive.
"For his family, they're obviously very distraught and heartbroken to see their kid go through this and not have answers why. They don't know what the next steps are and don't know if he ever can go back to that high school again or even feel safe again to go back to that high school. It's devastating," Finey added.
Finey says the teen is quiet, timid and caring. When Finey visited him in the hospital, Steven immediately asked how Finey's family was doing.
"He's having problems with his memory, especially with that day in particular, and just speaking to him last night, he's having trouble making sentences and answering questions. You'll see bit and pieces of the Steven we all know and love and then you'll see a confused 15 year old who has no idea what happened to him," Finey stated.
Friends and family don't want to see another student have to go through a similar ordeal and asked the community to keep Steven in their prayers.
Steven's friend, Alex Dixon, spoke with WAFF 48 News about the moments after seeing his friend taken down to the ground by the security guard.
"I thought he was dead at first cause he wasn't blinking, moving or breathing. he was laying there with his eyes open," he said.
"After he hit the ground, he was holding him down. But I don't see why he was holding him down. He was already knocked out," Alex explained. "I don't understand why he slammed him, to be real, when it wasn't called for it. You already had him, you big. My son is skinny so he didn't have to do all of that."
Alex said Steven's head hit the concrete so hard that the 15-year-old Mae Jemison sophomore couldn't even remember what day it was.
"No parent should have to get a phone call saying your child was in a fight and now he is in the hospital and not get any further information than that and then to show up to the hospital and find out the extent of his injuries are cracked skull, brain aneurysm and having to have emergency surgery done, that's awful. Who wants that phone call nobody wants that," said Latoya McKinney, Alex's stepmother.
Alex told McKinney the argument started because another student wanted to pick a fight with his group of friends. She hopes Steven's mother can get more answers from the school as to why her son is now lying in a hospital bed.
"From the video you can tell that the man who was hurt was not the aggressor. he wasn't the one egging on the situation. You could clearly see that the other young man was, and I'm not saying that he is at fault for what happened to Steven, however, I am saying that the security guard should have taken a different approach to stopping this altercation," McKinney added.
Alex hopes his friend will recover quickly.
"We need to stay safe and chill. Fighting is not worth it no more and I can't even beef no more because my son is in the hospital," said Alex. "I'm just worried about him."
Friends set up an online fundraising account to help the family during Steven's recovery.
"His parents are by his bedside and he will have a long recovery from his head injury. This gofundme is being used to support his parents with his care and helping to supplement them while they are off work for this extended period," wrote the woman who created the account, Kandice Eubanks.
If you would like to contribute, click here.
(Disclaimer: WAFF 48 News makes no guarantee that donations sent to private individuals will be spent in the manner specified in the post. Link to GoFundMe security FAQ: https://pages.gofundme.com/guarantee-faq/)
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