If another child at school injured your child, whose fault is it? Does the blame and any legal consequences rest on the other child and his or her family or guardians? Should the blame lie on the shoulders of the school? One mother, whose son was cut on the face by another student while at school, says the blame actually lies with the city, and she’s suing.
On March 17, 2014, 16-year-old Stephauan Powell was viciously cut by a straight razor wielded by a classmate at Herbert H. Lehmann High School in the Bronx, according to an article in the New York Daily News. He was fortunate enough to survive the attack; however, his injuries were serious enough to warrant medical attention.
His mother, Latoya Santiago, feels that there are more individuals to blame in this situation than just the actual attacker (identified only as Cory H.). She is suing the city (on behalf of the Department of Education) for negligence and seeking $5.5 million in damages. The lawsuit will be based on the premise that the city did not carry out its duties and adequately protect Santiago’s son. “He [referring to the assailant, Cory H.] came with the intent to do great damage, and there was no one there to protect my child. It’s going to happen to someone else’s child if they don’t change the safety system,” said Santiago.
Some would argue that the school, Herbert H. Lehmann High School, has taken steps to try to protect students. The school does have metal detectors and some security cameras in place. With regard to that, Santiago said, “This school has a metal detector. How could the kid get into school with this [straight razor]? It could have been a gun.”
The matter has been further complicated by the fact that Powell was charged with disorderly conduct. However, his family and lawyer claim that Powell did not provoke the fight and that there is video evidence that proves he was blindsided while merely walking in the school’s hallway.
The school board, Department of Education, and other city officials have not commented.
At this time, we are left with many questions. Will the charges be dropped against Powell in light of alleged video evidence? What will Cory H. state as his motive? Will the city settle out of court? As spring gets underway, it will be interesting to see how the criminal charges and the lawsuit pan out.