October 4, 2023

Days earlier than the fourth anniversary of the deadly beating of a center faculty boy by bullies, the Moreno Valley faculty district has agreed to a $27 million settlement of a lawsuit filed by the boy’s household.

Diego Stolz, who was fatally crushed by two bullies at Landmark Center Faculty in Moreno Valley in 2019, is seen in a household picture. The Moreno Valley Unified Faculty District has settled a wrongful dying lawsuit with Stolz’s household for $27 million, which in line with the household’s lawyer, is the most important settlement for a bullying lawsuit in U.S. historical past. (Courtesy of Juana and Felipe Salcedo) 

The Moreno Valley Unified Faculty District has agreed to the settlement with the household of former Landmark Center Faculty scholar Diego Stolz, 13, in line with his household’s lawyer.

“The household will ceaselessly be heartbroken by the dying of Diego however they hope this case brings about change at school districts throughout the nation,” Manhattan Seaside lawyer Dave Ring, who represented Diego’s household, is alleged in a Wednesday, Sept. 13, information launch. “Faculties want to appreciate that bullying can by no means be tolerated and that any complaints of bullying and assault should be taken severely. Diego’s dying was preventable if this faculty had merely prioritized an anti-bullying coverage.”

In keeping with Ring’s agency, that is the most important bullying settlement in United States historical past.

“I’ve by no means seen something near $27 million,” Ring stated Wednesday.

In July, a New Jersey faculty district settled for $9.1 million with the household of a center faculty lady who killed herself after months of relentless bullying. The household of Mallory Grossman, 12, stated her faculty made no significant effort to forestall the bullying.

On Sept. 16, 2019, early in his eighth-grade 12 months, Stolz was sucker-punched in an assault captured on video and shared on social media. His head hit a pillar and, after he fell to the bottom, unconscious, his assailant and one other boy continued punching him. Stolz by no means wakened and died days later in a hospital.

Stolz’s household alleged the college did not act after they instructed Landmark Assistant Principal Kamilah O’Connor days earlier than the assault that the boys had been bullying Stolz. O’Connor, the household stated, promised to droop the 2 boys. As an alternative, they had been nonetheless at school on the day of the assault.

The 2 boys who beat Stolz spent 47 days in custody after his dying. They later “made admissions” — the juvenile courtroom time period for the equal of pleading responsible — to involuntary manslaughter and assault with power more likely to trigger nice bodily harm in November 2020. They had been sentenced to probation, together with remedy for anger administration points, impulsivity and a scarcity of empathy.

O’Connor not works for Moreno Valley Unified, however is a center faculty principal in Dixon, close to Sacramento.

Since Stolz’s dying, Moreno Valley Unified has modified its bullying reporting system to make directors extra accountable for following via. The district additionally modified its coaching for assistant principals, who deal with scholar self-discipline.

“We had a whole lot of discussions about altering their anti-bullying applications,” Ring stated. “They didn’t await the lawsuit settlement for that. … (The lawsuit has) already caused change.”

Stolz’s household — Juana and Felipe Salcedo, the aunt and uncle who raised him — filed a wrongful dying lawsuit in opposition to the district in December 2020.

State regulation needed to be modified to let the Salcedos sue.