MORENO VALLEY, Calif. (KTLA) -- Days before he was fatally attacked at his middle school in September, 13-year-old Diego Stolz told an administrator that he was being bullied by other students.
But Landmark Middle School officials did nothing, and the boy was assaulted and killed by the same classmates at the Moreno Valley campus, according to an attorney for the victim’s family.
A legal claim against Moreno Valley Unified School District was filed last Friday by Juan and Felipe Salcedo, Diego’s aunt and uncle who raised him from the age of 1 following his mother’s death.
On Tuesday, attorney Dave Ring announced the claim, a precursor to a wrongful death lawsuit.
The claim alleges Diego and his adult cousin Jazmin sought help from Landmark’s assistant principal on Sept. 13, one day after he was targeted by bullies and “verbally and physically” harassed.
The bullies were a group of boys who had previously been friends with Diego, then – for unknown reasons – turned on him during the seventh grade, according to Ring.
Diego met with the assistant principal alone for 20 minutes. When the meeting was over, she told Jazmin the bullies would be suspended for three days, beginning Sept. 16, and that their class schedules would be changed, according to the claim.
She also told Diego he could miss school that day, a Friday, and return Monday, the document states.
But when Diego came back to school Monday, the same boys were still there, he said.
At lunch that day, Diego was confronted, attacked and knocked down by two boys, cellphone video of the incident showed. He hit his head on a pillar when he went down.
Diego was pronounced clinically dead nine days later and removed from life support.
Diego's aunt and uncle are seeking $100 million, according to the claim. In addition to monetary damages, they also want policy changes within the school district to prevent such incidents from happening again.
In the wake of Diego's death, other students and parents complained to KTLA of bullying being an ongoing problem at Landmark and other schools; they alleged the district has done little to stop it.
Meanwhile, the Riverside County District Attorney’s Office has charged two 13-year-old boys with voluntary manslaughter and assault by means of force likely to produce great bodily injury in connection to Diego’s death.