This past March, Killian High School was rocked by a shocking attack — a 17-year-old female student stabbed 15-year-old star football player DeAndre Johnson in the chest, leaving him clinging to life.
Then news emerged of an alleged crime that had sparked that assault. Months earlier, the female student had sued her previous high school alleging that multiple football players had raped her. She had attacked Johnson in a fit of mental illness stemming from that assault, her lawyers said.
Four months later, the Killian stabbing is finally reaching a resolution. Johnson amazingly survived, and his attacker recently learned she won’t serve time behind bars. Instead, a judge has ruled that she’ll continue receiving treatment at a mental health facility in Hialeah.
But that’s not the end of the conflict. A lawsuit is ongoing against the attacker’s previous high school over the alleged rape while her mother now says Killian is also to blame. “So many times the system failed her,” she says.
The attacker — who has never been publicly identified — had previously attended Keys Gate Charter School in Homestead. While she was a student there, she says, football players repeatedly harassed her. One day, a player pulled her out of the bathroom and forced her to perform oral sex on two football players in the dean’s office, she says. Months later, she reported the alleged assault to police; they investigated, but no charges were filed.
The student transferred to Killian and in November 2014 sued Keys Gate, alleging school officials should have prevented the crime. (Officials from Keys Gate denied the accusation, telling the Miami Herald “there is no evidence to support the allegations.”)
Her mother says that she informed administrators at Killian of her daughter’s prior incident but that the girl was never referred for counseling. Then, this past March 31, using a long kitchen knife, she stabbed Johnson in the chest.
Johnson’s lawyer argues there wasn’t proper security at the school. “There are warning signs in all these incidents. You later find out that someone chose to ignore them or there isn’t a system in place to detect them,” Judd Rosen says.
Daisy Gonzalez-Diego, a Miami-Dade County Public Schools spokesperson, refutes that claim. Random metal detectors are used at Killian, she says. And she denies the school was warned of the student’s alleged rape at Keys Gate. “Had we known, we would have provided counseling,” she says.
Today the girl’s family is relieved that she won’t get jail time — a judge ruled earlier this month she would instead be released when deemed mentally fit. “I’m very, very thankful,” her mother says.
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As for Johnson, he’s been released from the hospital but still has trouble catching his breath and suffers from flashbacks and nightmares. He plans to return to Killian in the fall for his junior year and try out again for the football team.
Johnson and his family supported the decision to keep his attacker out of jail. The girl’s mother says she apologized for her daughter’s actions and explained what had happened to her at the other school.
“It was a bit emotional, but we all got through it,” her mother says. “I was able to apologize and give them a hug. All they wanted was an apology. That was fulfilling to me.”