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HUNTSVILLE, Ala. - An Alabama teenager is recovering from a fractured skull that his family says he suffered Monday when a school resource officer at his high school “body-slammed” him headfirst onto concrete.
Steven Franklin, 15, of Huntsville, was left in the intensive care unit following the incident, which took place at Jemison High School, WHNT News 19 in Huntsville reported. Along with the cracked skull, Franklin suffered internal bleeding and required emergency surgery, according to family friend Zach Finey.
“There’s swelling on the right side of his head that’s about the size of a cantaloupe,” said Finey, a volunteer with the Big Brothers Big Sisters of America program who is Franklin’s “big brother.”
“He body-slammed Steven on the side of his temple, onto the concrete, and at that time Steve had a seizure that we’ve been told lasted about 30 seconds,” Finey told the news station.
WAAY-TV obtained photos of the teen in the hospital that show the swelling to his head and what appears to be about 60 staples closing his scalp following surgery.
Finey said the teen does not remember the incident, but that the boy’s friends told his family the school resource officer was attempting to break up a fight and stepped in after another student threw punches at Franklin.
AL.com reported that cellphone camera footage shows a portion of the fight, as well as the aftermath of Franklin being injured. The teen could be seen lying on the ground with the security guard standing over him.
The alleged actions of the guard were not caught on camera, the news site reported.
Police investigators are looking into the incident, a Huntsville Police Department spokesman confirmed to AL.com. Huntsville City Schools is also investigating what happened.
Keith Ward, a school district spokesman, said that the security officer, who is a contract employee, would remain off-campus through the end of the school year. According to the school calendar, Thursday was the last day of classes.
Finey on Wednesday afternoon credited the media with putting pressure on the school district to answer questions about what happened to Franklin.
“We are still a long way away from getting answers, and Steven has a long road of recovery, but the first steps have now been taken, thanks to you all,” Finey wrote on Facebook.
He told AL.com and WHNT that the teen’s condition had begun to improve.
“He’s actually being moved from ICU to a regular room,” Finey told AL.com. "He’s walked for the first time. He's started to ask questions about what happened. He doesn’t remember what happened, just waking up after his surgery.”
Finey told WHNT that Franklin has been distraught since finding out what happened. He and his family are also worried about the long-term effects of his injury.
“It’s sad when you see how sad and depressed he’s getting when he’s realizing, ‘What has happened to me? And why did it happen?’” Finey said. “And he wants to know just as much as his mother and his family, his friends.”