Family of California teen killed by bullies awaits court date

lawsuit brought by one’s family 13-year-old killed by miscreants at his Moreno Valley Middle School It probably won’t get its day in court until 2023.

“Unfortunately, with COVID, the courts are so overcrowded,” said Dave Ring, a Los Angeles attorney who represents the family of the late Diego Stolz.

With things going slowly due to the pandemic, Ring doesn’t think a court date is likely to be set until next year.

“It’s a painful thing for me,” said Diego’s aunt Juana Salcedo, speaking through an interpreter.

She and her husband, Felipe, raised Diego and his brothers, and referred to them as their sons.

“It worries me a lot. I’ve been in deep depression since Diego’s death.”

On September 16, 2019, at the start of his eighth grade, Stolz was sucker-punched The attack was captured on video and shared on social media. Her head hit a pole and after she fell unconscious, her attacker and another boy kept on punching her. Stolz never woke up and died a few days later in a hospital.

Stolz’s family sued for wrongful death against the families of the attackers, officials from the Moreno Valley Unified School District and their school, Landmark Middle School.

“I keep saying ‘Why didn’t they do more? Why didn’t they do anything? Juana Salcedo said. “Why didn’t he pay attention to what I was saying? Whenever I would go there, he would say ‘Oh yeah, oh yeah.’ I would be back home, a kind of comfort because I believed they were going to do something about it. But every day that went by, I was really disappointed because I kept seeing they weren’t doing anything.”

According to Salados, the fatal attack was not the first time Diego was in a fight with two boys, who eventually killed him. Stolz’s family alleges that the school failed to take action after telling Landmark Assistant Principal Camilla O’Connor that the boys were bullying Stolz a few days before the attack. O’Connor, the family said, promised to suspend both boys. Instead, they were still in school on the day of the attack.

Juana Salcedo said, “I believe that if he had just listened to me and told me the things I was telling him, my son would have been alive with us today.”

O’Connor is the named defendant in the lawsuit. O’Connor and Principal Scott Walker were replaced A month and a half after the attack. O’Connor is now a Middle school principal in Dixon, south of Sacramento. Walker still works for Moreno Valley Unified, thought the district would not disclose his current job assignment, citing privacy concerns. According to the Transparent California website, which uses requests from the California Public Records Act to gather employment, salary and benefits information on public employees. In 2020, Walker was a coordinator for professional development—an in-house trainer. O’Connor and Walker did not respond to a request for comment on Tuesday afternoon, March 22.

Since Stolz’s death, The district has changed its bullying reporting system To make administrators more accountable for compliance. The district also changed its training to have assistant principals handling student discipline.

The two boys who attacked Stolz – who have not been identified because they are minors – were spent 47 days in custody after his death. In November 2020, both “entered” – Juvenile court terminology that equates to pleading guilty – involuntary manslaughter and assault with force likely to cause major bodily injury.

In March 2021, the boys were Sentence of probation for fatal assault on Stolzo, Riverside County Superior Court Judge Roger A. Lubes’ punishment included therapy for anger-management issues, impulsivity, and lack of empathy.

A year and a half later, the front hall of Salcedo is still dominated by a temple of Diego. It has pictures of them on happy days along with hand and footprints, candles, flowers and religious mementos.

“That temple is never going to go there,” said Juana Salcedo.

He’s been in therapy since Diego’s death and says it’s helping.

“At first, I couldn’t even name her.”

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