Injured Huntsville teen released from hospital after Jemison HS incident
HUNTSVILLE, AL (WAFF) - A Huntsville teenager is home from the hospital after spending several days in intensive care.
Steven Franklin, 15, was severely injured by a security guard at Jemison High School.
Now, the community is rallying around the student and his family.
Kandice Eubanks and Megan Howard are doing everything they can to help Steven and his mother, Althea Basden. Basden is their friend and coworker at the Alabama A&M University Bookstore. They were all working on Monday when Basden got the call that her son was being taken to the hospital.
He suffered serious head trauma after friends and family say the teen was body-slammed on the concrete outside of the school by a security officer trying to break up a fight, leaving him with a cracked skull, internal bleeding, and swelling. He underwent emergency surgery and had tubes in his head to drain blood. He was released from the hospital on Thursday.
Eubanks started a GoFundMe account to help the family as Steven recovers.
"We started the account so that she could have support while she's not working because she's going to be missing money taking care of her son. Her son's father flew here from New Jersey so he's missing work too so we just wanted to help the family while he's in recovery," Eubanks said.
"He's like our son. We see him several times a week. I know that her kids are her life. It's very hard to see this on the news when it's somebody that you know. It's heartbreaking," Howard added.
Friends shared videos 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. Loved ones are extremely upset over the level of force that was used.
The sophomore continues to suffer memory loss and has a long recovery in the months ahead.
"He's trying to force his brain to remember things that he should know and it's not coming to him so it's becoming frustrating for him. His parents are there to help him through this process and let him know that things will take time and everything will be ok," Eubanks said.
"He wants to know what's going on and he keeps asking what happened to him and what he did wrong. He thinks he did something wrong," Howard added.
If you would like to contribute to the online fundraising account for Steven and his parents, click here.
Huntsville City Schools responded to the incident, saying it involved a contracted campus security officer.
Members of the board of education expressed their concern after their meeting on Thursday.
"Right now, it's a Huntsville police investigation and since they're heading up the investigation, we're waiting on them to conduct the findings and share them with us. But we have the young man in our prayers," said Michelle Watkins, who represents District 1, which includes Jemison High School.
"It's being investigated. Our thoughts and prayers are with the young man. We hope for a speedy recovery. It's being fully investigated and the individual that was involved has been removed from all of our campuses," added Elisa Ferrell, school board president.
HPD confirmed that they are "investigating an assault with a juvenile victim."
"It's concerning whenever a student gets hurt, whether it's the security guard's fault or the student's fault or if it's a fight between students. It's always concerning when it's about students," Watkins stated.
Board members said they were not aware of any other incidents involving that security officer. Everyone has an FBI background check in order to work on any campus.
According to Ferrell, Huntsville City Schools has CSOs (campus security officers) at every school, as well as SROs (school resource officers).
"This gentleman was in addition to the staff that we already have in the form of a contractor. When different incidents happen, we like to have more security on campus and we hire them through our contracting agency. This gentleman did not do what he should have done," Ferrell explained, referring to the man who injured Steven Franklin.
"To the family, we're praying for the young man. If there's anything we can do, please let us know. We will follow the strict guidelines of what the Huntsville Police Department's findings are and if the appropriate discipline is needed, then we will implement it. But we have the young man in our prayers," Watkins added.
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