WESTLAKE, OH - The family of a 17-year-old Westlake High School junior who was seriously injured in a fight with another student in school this past week has released a statement:
"While we are devastated by the life-threatening injuries that our son sustained, we now remain focused on his recovery. We send our children to school with the hope that they not only feel safe but they are kept out of harms way. It is our hope that the Westlake city schools not only appropriately address the situation with our son, but re-examine the policy which allowed an adult with a record to have access to our kids. We extend our gratitude to the physicians, nurses and medical staff at MetroHealth medical center, as well as the community at large for their support during this difficult time."
The fight between a 17-year-old junior and 18-year-old Deandrew Smith happened just before 1 p.m. on Tuesday, police said. School staff found the younger student lethargic in the men's restroom.
His family took him to Fairview Hospital and he was taken by medical helicopter to MetroHealth Medical Center. Westlake police said he suffered very serious head injuries.
Smith was charged with felonious assault. His bond was set at $5,000 and he was released. He's scheduled to appear in Rocky River Municipal Court on Tuesday.
Smith pleaded not guilty.
Smith also faces charges in juvenile court of rape and kidnapping. Those charges are unrelated and were filed March 1, before his 18th birthday.
Some parents questioned why he was allowed back in school with such serious charges pending. The school district released the following statement:
"Schools are legally required to provide an education to all resident students. This is a separate incident and clearly a police matter because the alleged offense did not occur on school property."
***For more information on this story, watch Peggy Gallek's report in the video box, above.***