California teen complained to school officials about bullies just days before he was fatally sucker-punched, says family lawyer
The lawyer representing the family of Diego Stolz said he had filed a wrongful death claim against the Moreno Valley Unified School District on their behalf. The claim reportedly serves as a precursor to a wrongful death lawsuit
Diego Stolz, the 13-year-old California schoolboy who died from critical injuries after a group of bullies sucker-punched him and he hit his head on a wall while falling down, had complained about the bullying to an administrator at his Southern California middle school just days before the attack.
Dave Ring, who is representing the family of Diego, said he had filed a wrongful death claim against the Moreno Valley Unified School District on their behalf. The claim reportedly serves as a precursor to a wrongful death lawsuit, according to a Fox News report.
Stolz died as a result of being bullied, the filing alleges, asserting that the district had "failed to take bullying complaints by Diego's family seriously and failed to enforce anti-bullying policies to protect its students."
Furthermore, the document also claims that the school district "has a long history of student altercations on its campuses."
Speaking to reporters, Ring revealed that Diego's adult cousin met with Landmark Middle School’s assistant principal three days before the September 16 attack to discuss the bullying he was going through.
At the time, the administrator promised him that the bullies would be suspended starting September 16. But the boy's attackers showed up to school that day nonetheless and sucker-punched Diego just hours later.
Footage from the disturbing attack showed how Diego's head hit a concrete pillar as he fell to the ground before the first teen punched him a third time and ran away. The victim was subsequently rushed to a hospital but was taken off life support nine days later.
According to Ring, the school "knew that Diego was targeted to be beaten up" and that they "allowed this to happen" despite repeated complaints by Diego and his family members.
"That’s what's unbelievably devastating to this family, that this could have been prevented," Ring said. "Diego was physically accosted by these bullies" on the Thursday before the attack, Ring said, adding that he had been bullied the entire year before as well.
"I don't believe the bullies were ever talked to," Ring said. "My information is that the assistant principal did absolutely nothing with that information — ever."
The attorney asserted that the death could have been easily prevented "if this school took bullying seriously". The two 13-year-old boys behind the attack were each charged with one count of voluntary manslaughter earlier this month.
In September, the sheriff's department announced that Diego's family had donated his organs "to transform this tragedy into the gift of life for other children".