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Kaylee Gain breathing on her own and moved out of ICU, family says

Sixteen-year-old from Missouri hospitalized after brutal fight near high school

Katie Hawkinson
Saturday 23 March 2024 21:05 GMT
16-year-old Kaylee Gain was critically injured in a fight near her Missouri high school
16-year-old Kaylee Gain was critically injured in a fight near her Missouri high school (Supplied)

Kaylee Gain, the Missouri teenager who was brutally beaten in a fight earlier this month, is out of intensive care and breathing on her own again, her family reported on Friday.

Kaylee’s mother, April Nordstrom, posted the update to a GoFundMe page raising money for her care and recovery.

The 16-year-old was critically injured in a fight on 8 March near Hazelwood East High School in St Louis, Missouri, where she is a student. Video of the fight circulated online earlier this month, showing another girl repeatedly slamming Kaylee’s head into the concrete.

“We are so happy and blessed to announce that Kaylee is now stable, breathing on her own , and was moved out of the ICU,” Ms Nordstrom wrote. “She still has an incredibly long journey ahead of her but she is strong.”

Kaylee Gain is now out of the ICU and breathing on her own, her family said on Friday (Supplied)

Her family had earlier reported that the teen suffered a fractured skull, brain bleeding and swelling. The GoFundMe has raised nearly $400,000 after billionaire Bill Ackman donated $10,000 to the campaign last week.

Police have arrested and charged an unnamed 15-year-old suspect in connection with the attack. The suspect’s family has launched a Change.org petition calling on Chief Juvenile Officer Rick Gaines not to charge her as an adult. The girl is a multilingual honour roll student who was “defending herself from harassment and bullying” during the attack, the petition says.

“We ask that the Juvenile Court use a combination of Restorative Justice and Rehabilitation methods instead of only using punitive measures to address the harm that occurred,” the petition reads. The petition has just over 700 signatures as of Saturday afternoon.

The family had also started their own GoFundMe campaign to help with the 15-year-old’s legal bills. It raised $3,000 before GoFundMe officials removed the page for violating the terms of service.

On Friday, Missouri Attorney General Andrew Bailey called for the girl to be tried as an adult.

“There is no discretion that the court has to hold a certification hearing when you have teens who should know better who do know better and they’re committing adult crimes. There needs to be adult punishments,” Mr Bailey said, according to KSDK.

Kaylee Gain suffered a brain bleed and swelling as a result of the fight near her Missouri high school, her family said (Bryan M Kaemmerer, an attorney representing Kaylee Gain’s family.)

Mr Bailey also announced that he is investigating the Hazelwood School District, claiming their Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) policies led to Kaylee’s injuries.

The attorney general claimed that the district adopted a “statement of solidarity” to “‘reevaluate the district’s relationship with local police,’” and as a result removed uniformed officers from their schools.

“Notably, during the attack on Ms. Gain, which was captured on video by other students, not a single school resource officer was on the scene to protect Ms. Gain or restore order,” he wrote, in a letter to the school district’s superintendent.

“The absence of SROs on the scene is directly attributable to Hazelwood’s insistence on prioritizing race-based policies over basic student safety. By its actions, HSD has endangered not only Ms. Gain, but the general school community writ large.”

In response to the letter, the Hazelwood School District (HSD) reaffirmed its commitment to the policies.

“Contrary to recent statements, HSD does not prioritize DEI initiatives at the expense of student safety,” the district said, according to KSDK. “Rather, we believe that fostering an inclusive environment is essential to ensuring the well-being of every member of our school community.”

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