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Franklin teen recovering after classmate brutally attacks her at school

Franklin Community High School
Posted at 11:00 PM, Sep 08, 2023
and last updated 2023-09-08 23:13:18-04

FRANKLIN — Franklin Community High School sophomore Laelah Roll hoped to have a great homecoming week. Instead, she's at home nursing a black eye after a vicious attack at school.

"You couldn't even see my face, you couldn't tell it was me," Roll said. "It was really swollen."

In an incident caught on video and shared on social media, Roll was blindsided by a girl in her grade while sitting for lunch on Tuesday and punched multiple times. Roll also said the girl bit her during the attack.

"You should be able to send your child to school and feel like they're going to be safe, and she was not," said Chasity Patchon, Roll's mother.

Roll said the incident came after bullying and cyberbullying from her classmates, which has only continued due to the video of her ordeal.

"I want to be able to go to homecoming and do all of these things," Roll said. "I shouldn't have to be scared to leave my house."

Patchon said her daughter suffered a concussion and sprained back in the attack.

Franklin School Superintendent David Clendening shared the following statement to WRTV:

"The FCHS administration quickly looked into the situation, and the aggressor has been disciplined to the fullest extent, according to our student handbook."

The attacker will also face legal consequences. Johnson County Prosecutor Lance Hamner said his office will file misdemeanor battery and disorderly conduct charges in juvenile court Monday, but the video could lead to more severe charges.

"There's a good chance when we review it that it could be upgraded to a felony," Hamner said. "The video is pretty disturbing, and it looks like the injuries could be more than what you expect from a regular fight."

Patchon is upset Franklin High School officials did not do more to protect her daughter because Roll feared her bullies would get violent long before the attack.

"Last Friday, she actually told me, 'What happens if somebody fights me? What am I allowed to do and what are my rights?'" Patchon said. "I asked her what was going on, and she told me about the girls saying things again. I told Laelah to go tell the dean."

Roll has transferred schools in the past due to bullying, but she said she has no interest in leaving Franklin.

"I don't think there's a reason why I should have to change my life again after the multiple times I already have because of other people's decisions," Roll said. "I want to be able to graduate from Franklin High School."