School administrators knew student had knife and made threats before stabbing: Lawsuit


Ola Middle School in Henry County, Georgia (via YouTube screengrab/WXIA). Insets: screengrabs from a recording of a fight at a middle school in Georgia that left a girl with 14 stab wounds (provided by attorney).

The mother of a Georgia middle school student stabbed 14 times in a campus fight with a girl who harassed her while she was walking to gym class says school administrators knew the attacker had a knife and had threatened students, but failed to take action.

The seventh grader’s mother has filed a $3 million lawsuit involving the fight at Ola Middle School in McDonough, south of Atlanta, on March 15. The fight left the girl with mental and physical scars on her face and body.

The lawsuit, which names the principal and three vice principals, said the attack, which started over a beef on social media with someone who wasn’t even involved in the fight, was preventable, and school police had informed school administrators that the attacker had a knife on campus and threatened students the day before and the day of the assault. The lawsuit said that administrators violated district policy by failing to investigate the weapon and bullying in an era when school safety is a serious problem.

“What’s appalling about it is, you knew about it on the 14th, and you did nothing and knew about it on the 15th and did nothing,” Attorney Andrew Gould told Law&Crime. “It’s just awful. This was so easily preventable.”

“Bottom line: the administrators failed to follow the district’s safety requirements,” he added.

As a result, the student’s body and life have been forever changed.

“The scars are a constant reminder of the evil attack,” Gould also said.

A school district media representative didn’t respond to a request for comment from Law&Crime.

“Our schools are designed to be centers of quality education and safe havens for young people to develop, grow, and succeed,” Henry County Schools Superintendent Mary Elizabeth Davis in a recorded message shortly after the attack. “Henry County Schools makes a daily commitment to be a district where every student is valued and knows that they belong. As your Superintendent, I accept the responsibility for creating the systems that ensure students learn at high levels and that students have opportunities to succeed. But my first and most significant responsibility is to ensure a safe school for every one of our nearly 44,000 students.”

The lawsuit alleges the school knew the girl had brought a knife on campus the day before and that she had made threats to use it on fellow students the day before and the day of, but school officials did not investigate, nor did they alert the parents of the students who were the targets of the bullying.

The assailant, identified in court documents only as “C.S.,” approached the student “A.L.” and began to threaten, harass and bully her as A.L. was walking to gym class.

A.L. attempted to diffuse the situation several times by continuing to walk away and asking C.S. to leave her alone, while teachers who witnessed the harassment did not diffuse the situation, court documents said.

Shortly after entering the gym, C.S. attacked A.L., stabbing her at least 14 times across her face, head, neck, shoulder, back and chest. The violence was caught on camera.

Afterward, A.L. was covered in blood. She had wounds on her face, chest, back and other body parts. She had a large gash across her face and chest wounds that destroyed her milk ducts, making it impossible for her to breastfeed in the future, court documents said.

Her mom told Atlanta ABC affiliate WSB that she was stabbed “all over her face and her chest and her back and her neck.”

“Bandaged up, blood. I mean, her hair was no longer blonde. It was red,” her mother told the station. “She had other clothes on because her clothes had been ripped from her body with a knife.”

At a hospital, she was treated for cuts to her scalp, face, neck, back, areola, and hand. She had several deep cuts to her face, back, breast, and the back of her head. A cut in her back required 18 stitches.

“Pt reports she pushed the assailant in defense, and the assailant took a razor blade and started cutting the patient,” a doctor noted in a report, court documents said. “Reports another girl started hitting the patient and holding her down.”

Plastic surgery was performed to repair her breast, face and head. She had staples across the top of her head to repair the cut. She’s seeing a psychologist. She has night terrors, panic attacks and anxiety.

“As a young girl, this has catastrophically impacted her life and self-esteem,” the lawsuit said. “Finally, the attack caused near immeasurable psychological and emotional scarring. It is impossible to capture in words the emotional damage caused by this horrific attack.”

The assailant was arrested, and authorities confiscated the weapon.

“The object has since been confiscated by school administrators and law enforcement officials, and the student is now in the custody of law enforcement facing pending charges,” a statement on the school district’s website said then, according to WAGA.

The Henry County Police Department emailed Law&Crime late Friday with an arrest report for an aggravated assault incident report listing an unnamed juvenile suspect. The report said authorities received a “crisis alert” that day for Ola Middle School about an aggravated assault.

A department spokesman said the agency is not releasing any additional information, citing the pending litigation and the fact that juveniles are involved.

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