HUNTSVILLE, AL (WAFF) - The parents of a Huntsville teenager are going to sue after their 15 year old was left with a fractured skull at Mae Jemison High School.
They're going after the campus security officer and the staffing company he works for.
Leila Watson is representing the family of Steven Franklin who was left with a fractured skull and brain trauma after being slammed to the ground outside of the school last week by a campus security officer breaking up a fight. In videos captured by witnesses, Franklin did not appear to be the aggressor in the situation. His family feels the level of force was beyond excessive.
Watson is with the Cory Watson law firm out of Birmingham and they specialize in personal injury. She met with the teen and his parents Wednesday at their home about the case. He's dealing with swelling and memory loss.
"He actually ended up going back to the hospital this weekend because of headaches. He still has a good bit of swelling. He still has all the staples in. But his spirits are really high. The family is really grateful for all the thoughts and prayers," she said.
Franklin was rushed to the hospital and needed emergency surgery and spent several days in the intensive care unit.
"When the skull fractured, it hit an artery in the brain and that's what led to the bleeding. Blood is toxic to brain tissue so whenever you have that, you have to go in an evacuate all of the blood," Watson explained.
The next step for the family and their legal team is to file a lawsuit against the security officer and the staffing company he works for, EPSCO, who has provided staffing for Huntsville City Schools.
"Steven has a very, very serious injury. I think one of the reasons he's doing so well is because he wasn't alone when this happened. His friends were there and school officials were there and called for help immediately and he got to a very good hospital and neurosurgery team. They got him into surgery. Otherwise, I think what we would be seeing a week later would be catastrophic, if not him being dead," Watson state.
Huntsville City Schools has CSOs (campus security officers) at every school, as well as SROs (school resource officers).
"I'm not certain that these security guards go through anywhere near the kind of in-depth training school resource officers do. I would say based on what we've seen and heard from this incident, the answer is they do not," Watson said. "You want somebody who has been screened to be able to keep a level head and not slam a student into the pavement."
Huntsville Police, meanwhile, continue to investigate and have footage from the school's security cameras.
"We understand that there are two, maybe three cameras mounted on the outside of the school building that may have picked up from different angles everything that happened," Watson added.
On Wednesday, Franklin got a call from the school letting him know that he is going to pass into his junior year with the rest of his classmates so he can now focus solely on his recovery.
"It's not going to disrupt plans for the next school year. He got a call from the school this afternoon letting him know that he is going to pass into his junior year with the rest of his classmates," Watson said.
She spoke on the family's behalf, adding: "Their focus is less on the defendant, the security guard, and his employer. It's more on Steven and his friends. They want these kids to be able to go to school and get an education because without that, they don't have a future. In order to do that, these kids need to be safe."
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