MORENO VALLEY, Calif. (AP) — A 13-year-old complained to an administrator that he was being bullied at his Southern California middle school days before the assault that killed him, the boy’s family said.
Juana and Felipe Salcedo, the aunt and uncle of Diego Stolz who raised the boy since his parents died, filed a legal claim against the Moreno Valley Unified School District, the Los Angeles Times reports Tuesday.
The claim, which lists damages of $100 million, said Stolz and an adult cousin met with a Landmark Middle School assistant principal in September after he was targeted by bullies and punched at the school 65 miles (105 kilometers) east of Los Angeles.
They were told the bullies would be suspended, but when Stolz returned to school after the weekend they confronted and punched him, knocking him to the ground, according to the claim. Stolz was removed from life support and died nine days later.
“They’re devastated,” said David Ring, the couple’s attorney. “It was totally preventable, and they’re really having a difficult time coming to grasp that.”
Anahi Velasco, a Moreno Valley Unified spokeswoman, said the district doesn’t believe it is liable for Stolz’s death. She declined to comment on the pending litigation or release details about the case.
“To be clear, there is no place for bullying in our schools and acts of violence will not be tolerated,” she said.
Two boys have been charged with manslaughter in connection with Stolz’s death. They have denied the allegations and are due to appear in juvenile court on Friday.
Earlier this month, two girls were arrested at another school in the district after allegedly assaulting another student during lunch.
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