LA School District Sued After Boy, 12, Left with Permanent Spinal, Brain Damage in Bullying Incident

Rebekah Sager
August 14, 2019 - 4:01 pm
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A California mother is suing an L.A. school district claiming her son was left with permanent spinal, brain, emotional injuries after another student choked him in a bullying incident. 

According to the lawsuit filed Monday in the Los Angeles County Superior Court, the boy, who was 12-years-old at the time and a student at Animo Westside Charter Middle School, was "brutally assaulted and strangled" in January 2018 by a 14-year-old student with a prior history of violence toward others. The suit claims that the school "failed to take adequate action in order to protect the other students."

Surveillance video shows the boy being punched in the stomach, pushed against a wall, and then appears to be choked, while other students crowd around. At one point a female staff member walks by while the group has surrounded the boy, but continues to walk away. 

The video continues with views from inside the school, showing another female staff member carrying the boy into the office. 

According to the lawsuit, the boy had several seizures and 911 was not called until after his mother arrived at the school, which was about 30 minutes after the incident. "A parade of errors, omissions, and willful ignorance, almost cost Plaintiff his life," the lawsuit reads. 

The 14-year-old student suspected of the attack has not been expelled. 

The school responded with the below statement:

"We take seriously the safety of all our students and quickly address bullying of any kind on our campuses. Green Dot has not received communication on pending litigation from the attorney identified in coverage, and to our knowledge, we have not been served with a complaint. That said, Green Dot is committed to working to ensure all our students receive a quality education in a safe environment where they can learn and grow. We are naturally concerned by the incident portrayed in media coverage.

A core value of Green Dot Public Schools is to demonstrate the utmost respect for the communities we serve, including all of our students and their families. This value is central to how Green Dot approaches incidents of bullying: We treat each other with respect and do not tolerate bullying in any form. We are committed to supporting our students as they reach their innate potential to achieve their goals and succeed in college, leadership, and life. This means supporting their learning and growth within a safe, nurturing, and responsive environments where we combat bullying, violence, and discrimination. When instances occur that run counter to our core values and our mission, we promptly and thoroughly investigate any complaint and take appropriate corrective action, including identifying any issues that may be addressed through restorative justice practices, like mediations.

 Our comprehensive approach demonstrates our commitment to the safety and growth of our students and is one way we demonstrate our respect for our students, their families and the communities we serve."