The family of Diego Stolz, a 13-year-old boy who died from his injuries after a brutal bullying incident, has been granted the largest settlement related to bullying in U.S. history.
On Wednesday, attorneys for Juana Salcedo and Felipe Salcedo, Diego’s legal guardians, announced a $27 million settlement was reached against Moreno Valley Unified School District.
“The family will forever be heartbroken by the death of Diego but they hope this case brings about change in school districts across the country,” Dave Ring, lead counsel, said in a statement.
“Schools need to realize that bullying can never be tolerated and that any complaints of bullying and assault must be taken seriously. Diego’s death was preventable if this school had simply prioritized an anti-bullying policy.”
According to the lawsuit, Diego was a frequent victim of bullying.
On September 16, 2019, the 13-year-old was attacked by two 14-year-old classmates. One of the teens struck Diego in the head from behind, causing Diego to fall and hit his head against a pillar.
While Diego was on the ground, the teens continued to punch him.
The assault was captured on camera and uploaded to social media.
Diego was declared brain dead and died from his injuries nine days later.
The two boys were initially arrested on suspicion of assault before later having their charges upgraded to voluntary manslaughter. The following year they admitted their guilt, and their charges were downgraded.
The judge determined they would not go to jail and ordered them to attend mandatory anger management therapy and community service.
It is absolutely horrific how many children die at the hands of bullies each year. While money cannot replace Diego, I hope this sends a message that bullying is no joke and will come with consequences.
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