First Day Back: C.R. Washington Student Returns To School After Assault
By Chris Earl, Reporter
CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa - Christian Meek wanted what many high school students want from time to time.
A day off from school.
"He was nervous and he asked to stay home," said Stephenie Meek, his mother.
No surprise the 15-year-old sophomore at Cedar Rapids Washington High School would be nervous about going back to school. Meek has been out since the August 21 assault that drew the attention of parents throughout the city. Meek and three other students were walking in the 300 block of 20th Street Southeast when, investigators and police say, at least two assailants attacked the group.
Meek spent two nights in the hospital with a broken jaw and nerve damage. A second victim had multiple teeth knocked out.
On Friday, police announced the arrest of two teenagers in the assault. Keenan Baker, 16, and Tyrees Martin, 15, are each charged with willful injury, a felony in Iowa. Investigators said on Tuesday they do not anticipate any further arrests in the case.
In the hours after her son's release from the hospital on Thursday, Stephenie Meek said Christian would return to Washington. Eight days after the assault, he did.
"It was a little bit rough but everybody was really friendly coming back," said Meek after school through his surgically closed jaw. "Lots of cards and people being friendly."
He said the pain "isn't that bad anymore" but Meek will have to eat food through a straw for weeks to come. Stephenie Meek said her son is making solid progress in his recovery.
"He's doing great, he really is," said Stephenie Meek. "For the injury he received, the oral surgeon said the feeling is coming back in his face." Last week, she said doctors told her that her son might have lost nerve sensation near his mouth.
Amid her son's recovery, Stephenie Meek said she is very concerned if the suspects are released and what could happen next.
"When these kids gets out of whatever punishment they have, what's next?" she asked. "Are they going to be able to get away with it? Do it to other kids?"
Reached by e-mail on Wednesday night, principal Dr. Ralph Plagman said this was a "good week" for the school community.
"The injured students are back and they will be okay, although they are not all completely healed yet," Plagman wrote. "And the alleged attackers are in the hands of the justice system."
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