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Family of bullied student who died after being punched receives $27 million settlement


MercyA
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"The family of a 13-year-old boy who died after two of his classmates attacked him at lunch will receive a $27 million settlement from a Southern California school district, according to the family's attorneys, who said it is the largest school bullying settlement in U.S. history. 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."

https://www.nbcnews.com/news/us-news/family-bullied-teen-died-student-punched-reach-historic-27m-settlement-rcna105154

Good. There is no excuse for allowing a child continue to be physically attacked at school. Hopefully this will put other schools on notice. My heart breaks for the child and family. 

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"School district Superintendent Martinrex Kedziora said in a letter to parents Wednesday that the district has made several changes regarding anti-bullying since Diego's death. Some of the changes include "a district-wide centralized online bullying form" and classroom posters that define bullying and how to report bullying, Kedziora said."

They are going to fix this with an online form and posters? Give me a break.

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19 minutes ago, knitgrl said:

"School district Superintendent Martinrex Kedziora said in a letter to parents Wednesday that the district has made several changes regarding anti-bullying since Diego's death. Some of the changes include "a district-wide centralized online bullying form" and classroom posters that define bullying and how to report bullying, Kedziora said."

They are going to fix this with an online form and posters? Give me a break.

Agree.  But I am not sure what can be done.  The world is out of control. 

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I just wish the bullies themselves had received more in the way of punishment. This wasn't just a punch gone wrong. This was a punch that knocked the boy unconscious and then the bullies kept punching him while he was out. It takes a certain kind of meanness that causes someone to keep hurting someone else while they are completely helpless.

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17 minutes ago, stephanier.1765 said:

I just wish the bullies themselves had received more in the way of punishment. This wasn't just a punch gone wrong. This was a punch that knocked the boy unconscious and then the bullies kept punching him while he was out. It takes a certain kind of meanness that causes someone to keep hurting someone else while they are completely helpless.

I agree that the something needs to be done with the aggressors, but what? Punitive measure don't address the underlying issues at play that would cause someone to engage in this type of behavior or get them the help they clearly need. They could (probably should) be sent to a theraputic school, but that may require the parents to agree to the placement and the school would have to be sufficiently motivated and go through the motions to get an IEP in place and try all the things to keep them in the least restrictive environment and that can take years. And it assumes that the placement isn't a catchall warehouse where they would be placed with the most vulnerable students rather than in a true theraputic environment. What happens if the parents are not on board? If the parents fight it what can the school do? It's been a not infrequent topic of conversation about how hard it is to get a school to do anything for an IEP. Would the school put in the effort if the parents are not on board? If a school doesn't need parental consent for placement then that gives them a lot of power that, based on what I have seen, may cause further harm to children with developmental disabilities.

The school could be calling the police for every single thing and working with the court system to force the parents to get the kids help. But that can take a long time, especially if the family has the means to fight it. If a school has to rely heavily on law enforcement and the courts, well, I am not confident that will not be abused more than it already is.

The system is very broken, I do not have solutions, just concerns that those who need help will still not get it and instead another precedent could be set that will be used in a way that will cause more harm to the more vulnerable students. 

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1 hour ago, stephanier.1765 said:

I just wish the bullies themselves had received more in the way of punishment. This wasn't just a punch gone wrong. This was a punch that knocked the boy unconscious and then the bullies kept punching him while he was out. It takes a certain kind of meanness that causes someone to keep hurting someone else while they are completely helpless.

This. Just wt*.

This is NOT bullying and I’m furious and tired of it being called bullying.

Bullying is verbal harassment. Knocking your books out of your hand.  Idk atomic wedgies. Being shoved or tripped.  *Maybe* A single punch when things go a bit too far.

Getting the crap beat out of them or beat to death is NOT bullying. That’s just full on manslaughter and that’s what those who did it should have faced.
 

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2 hours ago, Scarlett said:

Agree.  But I am not sure what can be done.  The world is out of control. 

Well, the Assistant Principal could have done what she told the family she would do the first time the kid was sucker punched by these jerks — she said she would review the security footage, suspend the students, and make sure Diego was not in class with them any more. Instead she did nothing. So if there are zero consequences for punching a kid in the head the first time, why not do it again? It sounds like the only reason they did face consequences this time is because the victim died.

42 minutes ago, Murphy101 said:

This. Just wt*.

This is NOT bullying and I’m furious and tired of it being called bullying.

Bullying is verbal harassment. Knocking your books out of your hand.  Idk atomic wedgies. Being shoved or tripped.  *Maybe* A single punch when things go a bit too far.

Getting the crap beat out of them or beat to death is NOT bullying. That’s just full on manslaughter and that’s what those who did it should have faced.

Both boys pleaded guilty to involuntary manslaughter; their punishment was 47 days in juvenile detention and a requirement to attend anger management classes. For continually harassing, assaulting, and finally killing an innocent student.

Edited by Corraleno
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What they can do is punish the aggressors at the initial incidents, severely.  Whether or not they can get the aggressors the help they need with their underlying issues causing the behaviors is really beside the point.  The school's first responsibility is to the victim, not the bullies.  Punish them severely the first time, and expel them if it continues after that.

I was severely bullied all through elementary school, with it gradually worsening each year.  The thing the school did that made a difference?  Finally having a teacher who cared and came down on the bullies like a ton of bricks.  After four years of teachers ignoring the blatant verbal bullying in front of their faces and not punishing reports of physical bullying that happened out of their eyesight, that allowed the situation to grow worse and worse.  The issue was 90% resolved by one teacher who actually did something about it one day.  That was all it took

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1 hour ago, SHP said:

I agree that the something needs to be done with the aggressors, but what? Punitive measure don't address the underlying issues at play that would cause someone to engage in this type of behavior or get them the help they clearly need. They could (probably should) be sent to a theraputic school, but that may require the parents to agree to the placement and the school would have to be sufficiently motivated and go through the motions to get an IEP in place and try all the things to keep them in the least restrictive environment and that can take years. And it assumes that the placement isn't a catchall warehouse where they would be placed with the most vulnerable students rather than in a true theraputic environment. What happens if the parents are not on board? If the parents fight it what can the school do? It's been a not infrequent topic of conversation about how hard it is to get a school to do anything for an IEP. Would the school put in the effort if the parents are not on board? If a school doesn't need parental consent for placement then that gives them a lot of power that, based on what I have seen, may cause further harm to children with developmental disabilities.

The school could be calling the police for every single thing and working with the court system to force the parents to get the kids help. But that can take a long time, especially if the family has the means to fight it. If a school has to rely heavily on law enforcement and the courts, well, I am not confident that will not be abused more than it already is.

The system is very broken, I do not have solutions, just concerns that those who need help will still not get it and instead another precedent could be set that will be used in a way that will cause more harm to the more vulnerable students. 

Whether punitive measures address the underlying issues with violent kids is irrelevant to the fact that the #1 priority has to be keeping the other students safe. Getting help for the bullies is a separate issue. I really don't understand how schools have been allowed to get so totally out of control that bullies basically run the schools and teachers end up quitting because they have no disciplinary tools with which to control the classroom so they can actually do their job of teaching.

What exactly do administrators do, when on the one hand they're too terrified of the bullies and the parents of the bullies to keep the students safe, while simultaneously stalling and stonewalling parents of kids with LDs to avoid giving them what they are legally entitled to. How are they any different from the police who stood outside the classroom in Uvalde? People love to complain about "kids these days" but where the hell are the adults, and why aren't they acting like adults?

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3 hours ago, MercyA said:

"The family of a 13-year-old boy who died after two of his classmates attacked him at lunch will receive a $27 million settlement from a Southern California school district, according to the family's attorneys, who said it is the largest school bullying settlement in U.S. history. 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."

https://www.nbcnews.com/news/us-news/family-bullied-teen-died-student-punched-reach-historic-27m-settlement-rcna105154

Good. There is no excuse for allowing a child continue to be physically attacked at school. Hopefully this will put other schools on notice. My heart breaks for the child and family. 

I don't know what the answer is but big lawsuits like this against schools end up being paid by tax money either at the federal, state or local level depending on where the funds for schools come from so I'm not sure how effective this really is.

 

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19 minutes ago, Tenaj said:

I don't know what the answer is but big lawsuits like this against schools end up being paid by tax money either at the federal, state or local level depending on where the funds for schools come from so I'm not sure how effective this really is.

 

The school districts usually have insurance for this, it is not being paid by taxpayers.

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35 minutes ago, Condessa said:

What they can do is punish the aggressors at the initial incidents, severely.  Whether or not they can get the aggressors the help they need with their underlying issues causing the behaviors is really beside the point.  The school's first responsibility is to the victim, not the bullies.  Punish them severely the first time, and expel them if it continues after that.

I was severely bullied all through elementary school, with it gradually worsening each year.  The thing the school did that made a difference?  Finally having a teacher who cared and came down on the bullies like a ton of bricks.  After four years of teachers ignoring the blatant verbal bullying in front of their faces and not punishing reports of physical bullying that happened out of their eyesight, that allowed the situation to grow worse and worse.  The issue was 90% resolved by one teacher who actually did something about it one day.  That was all it took

They should use expulsion more liberally, honestly.  Not because I think the kids being expelled would benefit directly, exactly.  I just think parents would do more if they KNEW with 100% certainty that little John would be facing expulsion if he was a violent jerk at school.  A child being expelled from school is a huge freaking inconvenience to parents and really that’s the only way to make them deal with their kids.  “Sorry mom and dad, your child is too violent for school, fix it, get therapy and try again next year”.  

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1 hour ago, Corraleno said:

Well, the Assistant Principal could have done what she told the family she would do the first time the kid was sucker punched by these jerks — she said she would review the security footage, suspend the students, and make sure Diego was not in class with them any more. Instead she did nothing. So if there are zero consequences for punching a kid in the head the first time, why not do it again? It sounds like the only reason they did face consequences this time is because the victim died.

Both boys pleaded guilty to involuntary manslaughter; their punishment was 47 days in juvenile detention and a requirement to attend anger management classes. For continually harassing, assaulting, and finally killing an innocent student.

We’re they expelled or will they be returning to the school were they literally killed a class mate?

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2 hours ago, Corraleno said:

Well, the Assistant Principal could have done what she told the family she would do the first time the kid was sucker punched by these jerks — she said she would review the security footage, suspend the students, and make sure Diego was not in class with them any more. Instead she did nothing. So if there are zero consequences for punching a kid in the head the first time, why not do it again? It sounds like the only reason they did face consequences this time is because the victim died.

Both boys pleaded guilty to involuntary manslaughter; their punishment was 47 days in juvenile detention and a requirement to attend anger management classes. For continually harassing, assaulting, and finally killing an innocent student.

Crap like that is exactly why it makes sense to so many kids to either just kill themselves in what they hope will at least be a less painful way and/or seek revenge via mass violence.

47 days.  smdh 

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2 hours ago, scholastica said:

The school districts usually have insurance for this, it is not being paid by taxpayers.

Taxes are paying for the premiums though. Maybe the answer lies in schools becoming un-insurable (or the threat of that) if there are too many payouts due to bullying.

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13 minutes ago, idnib said:

Taxes are paying for the premiums though. Maybe the answer lies in schools becoming un-insurable (or the threat of that) if there are too many payouts due to bullying.

That hasn’t work with police departments and they have the same set up.  Police departments routinely pay out settlements for excessive force, unlawful arrest, etc.   It’s just part of doing business.  

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9 minutes ago, Heartstrings said:

That hasn’t work with police departments and they have the same set up.  Police departments routinely pay out settlements for excessive force, unlawful arrest, etc.   It’s just part of doing business.  

This is true.

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3 hours ago, Corraleno said:

Well, the Assistant Principal could have done what she told the family she would do the first time the kid was sucker punched by these jerks — she said she would review the security footage, suspend the students, and make sure Diego was not in class with them any more. Instead she did nothing. So if there are zero consequences for punching a kid in the head the first time, why not do it again? It sounds like the only reason they did face consequences this time is because the victim died.

Both boys pleaded guilty to involuntary manslaughter; their punishment was 47 days in juvenile detention and a requirement to attend anger management classes. For continually harassing, assaulting, and finally killing an innocent student.

I haven’t followed this story and I did not know this.  Sickening. 

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3 hours ago, Corraleno said:

Whether punitive measures address the underlying issues with violent kids is irrelevant to the fact that the #1 priority has to be keeping the other students safe. Getting help for the bullies is a separate issue. I really don't understand how schools have been allowed to get so totally out of control that bullies basically run the schools and teachers end up quitting because they have no disciplinary tools with which to control the classroom so they can actually do their job of teaching.

What exactly do administrators do, when on the one hand they're too terrified of the bullies and the parents of the bullies to keep the students safe, while simultaneously stalling and stonewalling parents of kids with LDs to avoid giving them what they are legally entitled to. How are they any different from the police who stood outside the classroom in Uvalde? People love to complain about "kids these days" but where the hell are the adults, and why aren't they acting like adults?

QFT

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4 hours ago, Corraleno said:

Whether punitive measures address the underlying issues with violent kids is irrelevant to the fact that the #1 priority has to be keeping the other students safe. Getting help for the bullies is a separate issue. I really don't understand how schools have been allowed to get so totally out of control that bullies basically run the schools and teachers end up quitting because they have no disciplinary tools with which to control the classroom so they can actually do their job of teaching.

What exactly do administrators do, when on the one hand they're too terrified of the bullies and the parents of the bullies to keep the students safe, while simultaneously stalling and stonewalling parents of kids with LDs to avoid giving them what they are legally entitled to. How are they any different from the police who stood outside the classroom in Uvalde? People love to complain about "kids these days" but where the hell are the adults, and why aren't they acting like adults?

Schools ignoring bullies and/or blaming the victim is not a new problem. I dealt with it decades ago as a victim. I doubt much has changed and since every child is entitled to an free education in the least restrictive environment...

 

As a parent, a child who is "easy" in the classroom is viewed more positively than a child who needs even minor supports.

Child A with undiagnosed ADHD who doesn't have any behavior problems and is not a danger to anyone, but cannot focus and needs information repeated can be viewed as annoying and is more work.

Child B who can focus well enough to not ask to have things repeated and is no extra work for the teacher in class is viewed more positively.

Outside of class if child B is violent or a bully to Child A there is the view that Child A is somehow to blame or that Child B was not like that. Child A is more work and Child B less so so Child B is innocent. 

 

My kid was a Child A. The environment was insane. It was loud and echoed, the instructors barely spoke above a whisper and there there multiple groups receiving instruction at the same time. I later learned that mine literally could not hear the instructions. Since mine couldn't hear even if they tried and had absolutely no clue what was happening they were more work.

Child B had no hearing struggles and was easier. Outside of instructional time Child B assaulted multiple people, physically and sexually. There was no one who wasn't aware of what Child B was doing, but Child B was easy so the instructors didn't care what happened outside of the instruction time. They were absolute jerks to mine.

We moved. New place didn't even try to have multiple groups recieving simultaneous instruction at a near whisper, they knew even with perfect hearing that was not a good environment. New instructors had even taken a course on projecting their voices. New instructors quickly realized mine couldn't hear and moved them closer to them. Mine never had another issue and was adored by the instructors and peers at the new place. Best move ever.

Child B? It took another parent who was in a position of power/money/influence to make it clear that they would file a lawsuit against all of them individually and collectively if Child B was allowed to continue unchecked and so much as looked at their child wrong for anyone to do anything. By then there were nearly 4 years of written complaints to instructors and administrators of Child B's behavior. 4. Years. They still did the bare minimum and the only protection was for the child of the parent who had the ability to do something. 

I have zero doubt that Child B was sexually abused. Child B is now an adult and based on conversations with the parents around the time above I doubt Child B got the help they desperately need and just learned to hide the behaviors. I will not be shocked to one day read about Child B being a sexual predator. 

Child B was easy during instructional time and that was what mattered. Child B was a "good kid" because the standard was what happened only during instructional time. Behavior that would land an adult in jail outside of instructional time even during school hours? They just don't care

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