$3M lawsuit filed after girl stabbed 14 times at Henry County middle school

Mother’s lawsuit contends school leaders knew student had a weapon

Henry County school officials knew an Ola Middle School student was threatening violence and had a knife, but did nothing to stop her, a lawsuit filed this week alleges.

The following day, that student stabbed a classmate multiple times, causing serious injuries to her face, back and chest that required multiple surgeries, in addition to emotional trauma. The suit, filed this week against four school administrators in Henry County State court, seeks $3 million in damages for both medical costs and the psychological pain the girl endured.

“Your job is to keep everybody at the school safe, the students and the teachers, and you failed to do both,” attorney Andrew Gould told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

A spokesman for Henry County schools said the district does not comment on open legal matters. However, the district’s disciplinary policies state that a student found with a weapon faces a mandatory one-year expulsion, later followed by a disciplinary hearing. The handbook also requires school employees to investigate all reports of bullying.

The lawsuit contends that school resource officers knew the student had a knife and told administrators but no action was taken.

“On March 14, 2023, defendants did not investigate the school resource officer’s report that ‘C.S.’ had a knife on the premises and making threats against other students,” the lawsuit states.

The following day, the girl returned to school with the knife. Ashley Wilson says her seventh-grade daughter was on her way to class on March 15 when she was approached, harassed and bullied by her assailant, the lawsuit states.

“Teachers who witnessed the harassment did not diffuse the situation. The teachers who witnessed the bullying failed to keep A.L. safe while on school premises,” the lawsuit states. “Shortly after entering the gym, “C.S.” attacked A.L., stabbing her at least fourteen (14) times across her face, head, neck, shoulder, back and chest.”

Pictures of the student after the assault are included in the lawsuit and show the severity of her injuries. From the school, she was taken by ambulance to Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta at Egleston. The girl’s face sustained a large gash, she required staples to close a wound on the top of her head, and 18 stitches on her back, in addition to plastic surgery, the lawsuit states.

When Wilson saw her daughter at the hospital, she was covered in blood, she told Channel 2 Action News.

“She had other clothes on because her clothes had been ripped from her body with a knife,” Wilson said.

The girl’s family has since moved from the area and she is being home-schooled while continuing to undergo counseling, her family says. Her recovery continues, her mother said.

The day of the attack, the school system would only confirm an altercation had led to a student being injured, The AJC previously reported.

“Disruption to the safety of our school environment is never tolerated, and any students involved in such behavior will be held accountable,” the school system said. “An active investigation is underway, and no further details are available at this time.”

The lawsuit requests a jury trial.

Last month, the Henry school system announced it had installed “state-of-the-art weapons detection technology” at its high school stadiums to improve safety at football games. The Henry school board approved the purchase of the metal detectors in August from Evolv Technologies for $2.1 million.

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