Los Angeles

Teen's Family Says He Complained of Bullying Before Death

A 13-year-old boy died after he was attacked on Sept. 16, 2019, at Landmark Middle School by two other boys.

The family of a 13-year-old says he complained to an administrator that he was being bullied at his Southern California middle school days before the assault that was caught on cellphone video that killed him.

Juana and Felipe Salcedo, the aunt and uncle of Diego Stolz who raised the boy since his parents died, filed a legal claim against the Moreno Valley Unified School District, the family's attorney said in a news conference Tuesday morning.

His family says they never thought he'd die from violence on campus.

"This one act of violence took away our brother's life. We miss him so much," said his sister Jazmin Salcedo.

David Ring, the family attorney, said Diego was a good kid who just wanted to go to school and learn.

"He was a normal 13-year-old boy," Ring said. "He liked hiking. He liked his mom's food. He liked going to class and learning."

Ring said administrators knew about the bullying.

"They were told by a teacher. They were told by Diego's adult sister, Jazmin. And they were told by Diego himself. And they allowed this to happen," he said.

The claim, which lists damages of $100 million, said Stolz and an adult cousin met with a Landmark Middle School assistant principal in September after he was targeted by bullies and punched at the school 65 miles east of Los Angeles.

They were told the bullies would be suspended, but when Stolz returned to school after the weekend they confronted and punched him, knocking him to the ground, according to the claim.

Stolz was removed from life support and died nine days later.

Anahi Velasco, a Moreno Valley Unified spokeswoman, said the district doesn't believe it is liable for Stolz's death. She declined to comment on the pending litigation or release details about the case.

"To be clear, there is no place for bullying in our schools and acts of violence will not be tolerated," she said.

Two boys have been charged with manslaughter in connection with Stolz's death. They have denied the allegations and are due to appear in juvenile court on Friday.

Earlier this month, two girls were arrested at another school in the district after allegedly assaulting another student during lunch.

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