Lawsuit Says Middle School Student Suffered Brain Damage After Bullying Incident
A California woman is suing a Los Angeles school district claiming that her son was left with permanent brain and spinal injuries after another student choked him during a bullying incident last year, which was caught on video. According to an NBC news report, the mother said her son, 12 years old at the time, was a sixth-grader at Animo Westside Charter Middle School. The lawsuit states the boy was “brutally assaulted and strangled” in January 2018 by a 14-year-old who allegedly had been violent toward other students, according to a lawsuit filed Monday, Aug. 12, in Los Angeles Superior Court.
School Did Not Take Action
The mother claimed school officials were aware the 14-year-old had been involved in an incident prior to the one where her son was assaulted but failed to take proper action to protect other students at the school. Surveillance video from the January 2018 incident shows the older boy punching the 12-year-old in the stomach and then pushing him up against an outside wall. He then appears to put his hand around the 12-year-old’s neck as other students crowd around them.
The video also shows a female staff member walking by and looking at the group before walking away. The 12-year-old boy then falls on one knee and appears to be struggling to breathe. Another video from the school shows several people carrying the boy to the office and laying him on the floor before emergency personnel arrive.
According to the lawsuit, the boy had several seizures and 911 was not called until after his mother arrived at the school, which was 30 minutes after the incident. The mother told NBC Los Angeles that her son has been struggling since the incident and that he has suffered permanent traumatic brain and spinal cord injuries as a result of being choked. The boy would require lifelong monitoring and now requires help to read and write, she said.
Effects of Bullying
We hope this tragic bullying incident sheds light on the serious and catastrophic effects bullying can have on children. Based on this news report, this child has been affected for life. Bullying is a serious threat to youth today. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), bullying affects 20 percent of high school students and cyberbullying affects 16 percent of high school students. Middle schools reported the highest rate of bullying (25 percent). Bullying can have negative short- and long-term consequences – both physically and psychologically.
School administrations have a responsibility to implement their zero-tolerance policies for bullying and protect children who are threatened or intimidated. If your child is being bullied in school or has suffered injuries as a result of being bullied, please contact an experienced Los Angeles personal injury lawyer who handles similar cases to understand your legal rights and options.