Jefferson County mother of injured child threatens to sue school

BIRMINGHAM, AL (WBRC) - A Jefferson County mother is threatening to sue the school system, saying they didn't do enough to help her daughter when she was injured at a party.

"Oh I'm very, very angry. I couldn't even stop crying yesterday," says Laterrrica Snipe.

Her daughter, Dakayla Lewis, is a 7th grader at Erwin Middle School. She was attending the Valentine's Day dance Tuesday when Snipe got a call.

"I got a phone call from her friend saying, 'Mrs. Snipe, Dakayla has passed out.' So I'm panicking real bad like, 'Oh my God, what's going on with my child?'"

Snipe says she rushed to the school, pushed pass the students to see a horrible sight.

"Her head was just all over the place and her eyes were rolling to the back. She was totally out of it. She couldn't say anything," Snipe said. "So I'm asking the two teachers on the side, 'Did you all call the ambulance for my child?' and he said, 'No,' and looked at me like I'm crazy and said, 'Just take her outside to get some air.'"

Angry at that response, Snipe says she grabbed the girl, took her outside and called 911. The child was rushed to the hospital and diagnosed with a concussion.

Snipe would later share with her daughter what her friends told her happened.

"'Dakayla, your friends said a little boy was running through the hallway and he was going so fast, he knocked you down and he kept going and you hit your head on the floor and knocked you unconscious,'" Snipe recounted.

But Snipes is angry at the lack of response from teachers and says she is now planning to sue.

"Y'all supposed to call 911 first and then call me. Y'all didn't go by any one of those guidelines. You didn't call 911 and you didn't call me. So therefore, I'm going to file a lawsuit because y'all didn't do y'all part in handling my child the right way and it was wrong on their end," she says.

The Jefferson County school system responded to WBRC with two statements yesterday.

The first statement read:

"We have been made aware of an event at Erwin Middle School involving an accident of one our students and would like to clarify the facts that we are aware of at this time. According to witnesses' statements, the child was running and fell in the gym during a PTA sponsored Valentines Day Dance. Our video footage did not capture how the child actually fell, but does show our faculty members assisting the student. There were parents and teachers around, but none of them witnessed the actual fall. Before our staff could properly assess the situation, the accompanying students called the child's mother. Once our employees completed their assessment, the student was totally cognizant. This gave the school no reason to call 911 at that time. However, when the child's mother arrived at the school, she decided to call an ambulance. We have not been notified of any medical records regarding this incident and the child is safe and at school today.

We take any event involving a student accident very seriously and our employees have been trained on proper procedures to assess these types of situations. The safety of our students is a priority for all schools in Jefferson County."

Later Wednesday afternoon, the school system gave a second statement to WBRC.

It reads:

"Erwin Middle School has now been made aware of the student's medical records revealing that her fall resulted in a concussion. We would like to reiterate that in the timeframe of yesterday's event, the staff at EMS was not able to fully assess and make a final decision on the situation before the child's mother arrived at the school. The student appeared fully cognizant and the staff did not believe an ambulance was necessary, however, before the discussion could fully result in a decision amongst EMS faculty, the ambulance that the mother called was already on their way. In no way did the EMS staff avoid the severity of the accident or neglect the proper procedure for assessing a student accident of this nature."

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