The family of a 13-year-old boy, Diego Stolz, who tragically died following an attack by two of his fellow students during lunchtime, will be granted a settlement of $27 million from a Southern California school district. This settlement, noted by the family’s legal representatives, stands as the largest school bullying settlement in the history of the United States.
Diego, who was a student at Landmark Middle School in Moreno Valley, California, was sucker-punched in the head on September 16, 2019, by two other male students. He fell to the ground and hit his head on a concrete pillar, causing a massive brain injury. Diego never regained consciousness and died nine days later, according to CNN.
As per NBC News, Juana and Felipe Salcedo, the guardians of Diego Stolz, sued the Moreno Valley Unified School District after he died in September 2019, claiming officials ignored several complaints they made in 2018 and 2019 to administrators at Landmark Middle School that Diego was being bullied. They became his guardians after both of his parents died. The case was settled Wednesday.
“This lawsuit has put schools on notice to find ways to effectively deal with bullying and to enact real anti-bullying policies,” attorney Neil Gehlawat said in a statement. “Although his family’s grief can never be taken away, we believe real change will come and there will be a renewed focus on anti-bullying programs across the nation.”
Fox News reported that two 14-year-old boys, who were 13 at the time of the incident, pleaded guilty to charges of manslaughter and assault in juvenile court, and a Riverside County judge sentenced them to 47 days in jail plus community service and therapy.
“Diego was, by all accounts, the sweetest, nicest kid you could ever meet. When the bullies confronted him yet again (for no good reason), Diego put his hands to his sides because he was told to never fight at school. The two bullies sucker-punched him and killed him,” his attorneys wrote in a Facebook post Wednesday.