Landmark Middle School in Moreno Valley was recently hit with a wrongful death lawsuit after a school fight left one student dead.
A Moreno Valley school was recently hit with a wrongful death claim after a 13-year-old boy was killed in a school fight. According to the claim filed by the family of Diego Stolz, the boy was allegedly beaten up by two other students at Landmark Middle School. The entire incident was caught on a cell phone video, and as a result, the two students are each facing one count of voluntary manslaughter.
When filing the claim, Stolz’s parents noted the school district has a “long history of student altercations on its campus and failed to take bullying complaints made by the family seriously as well failed to enforce anti-bullying policies to protect its students.” As a result, the family is seeking $100 million in damages against the Moreno Valley Unified School District.
So what happened? How long was Diego allegedly bullied before the fatal incident? For starters, the family alleges that “during Diego’s seventh grade school year in 2018-2019, boys at the school repeatedly verbally and physically bullied him.” Despite numerous complaints to school administrators and pleas for the administrators to do something to stop the bullying, the school allegedly did nothing. Over time, the bullying only escalated. Then, four days before his death, Diego was allegedly “punched in the chest by three boys at Landmark Middle School.” Both Diego and a teacher reported the incident.
When commenting on the repeated bullying that Diego endured, Dave Ring, the attorney representing the family, said at one point following the punching incident, the assistant principal told Diego’s adult sister, Jazmine, that “We are going to take care of this…We are going to change the classes of these bullies and we are going to suspend them.”
However, when Diego returned to school a few days later, “the boys had not been suspended.” Unfortunately, that same day he returned to school was when the alleged fatal incident occurred. During the assault, he hit his head on a column and he never regained consciousness. Ring said, “Nine days later he was taken off life support…It could have been prevented if this school took bullying seriously.”
When asked about the incident and the wrongful death claim, representatives for the school district said that “while their hearts go out to the family, the two boys who attacked and killed Diego are responsible for his death, and that bullying is a nationwide problem.”
While discussing the incident and the school’s response, another attorney for the family said:
“It is appalling that the school, which is supposed to protect its students, failed to address aggressive bullying that was occurring on its school grounds, even after multiple complaints were made. This gross incompetence by the school and its administrators led to the death of a young boy, who was subjected to horrific abuse while the administrators looked the other way. The family is devastated by the loss of Diego.”