A Los Angeles mother is suing her local school district after alleging they failed to keep her son safe after he was attacked by a school bully in his middle school, leaving him with brain damage and spinal injuries.
The mother states that the attack happened in January 2018 when her 6th-grade son was 12 years old. She says that her son was "brutally assaulted and strangled" by a 14-year-old student with a history of violent behavior at the school, NBC News reports. According to the lawsuit, the mother claims that school officials were aware of another incident involving the 14-year-old and “failed to take adequate action in order to protect the other students at the school.”
The mother, identified only as Sarah, says that the attack on her son has left him with permanent brain damage on the left side, spinal damage and learning disabilities. “That child I dropped off at 7:30 that morning, he is not the same anymore,” she told CBS News.
Surveillance video shows Sarah’s son arriving at school and almost immediately being punched in the stomach by the older boy. He’s then backed up against an outside wall where it appears the older boy puts his hands around Sarah’s son’s neck. A few other children have gathered as they watch the events unfold.
“You see my client cower as he’s being choked, and various pressure points are being used,” family attorney Ben Meiselas said. “Apparently, this bully had gone on YouTube to find out how to basically do the most painful pressure points on the neck. You keep watching this video, and it’s just a tragedy of errors,” Meiselas said.
The video shows one female staff member walking past the boys as they are huddled against the wall. She seems to look at them but continues to keep walking, not saying anything. Once the teacher passes Sarah’s son then drops to the ground on one knee. At that point, the boy who attacked him seems to be urging him to get to his feet. Once Sarah’s son is able to walk he’s taken to a water fountain, clutching his neck as he walks. At this point, another school staffer walks by and seems to notice that Sarah’s son needs help, and guides him to a chair in the hall. Once sitting, more staffers come to his aid.
According to the lawsuit, the boy had multiple seizures, yet the school didn’t call 911 until almost 30 minutes after the incident occurred and Sarah had arrived at the school. “By the time I get there, I’m thinking paramedics and he’s going to have help,” Sarah told CBS. “My son is literally laying there still in the middle of the office floor completely black and blue.”
“The staff did everything wrong, every step of the way, and showed a callous disregard for my 12-year-old client’s life and well being," Meiselas said in a statement "This is unacceptable and every adult working for this school should be haunted by their conduct for the rest of their lives."
Sarah, who states that the school board still hasn’t issued an apology for what happened to her son, wants to ensure that someone is found accountable for what happened.
“No one else is going to pretend that he’s invisible, OK,” she said. “He’s not invisible.”