Family of boy dead after school assault receives $27 million

Diego Stolz left to right: standing with hands at his side as another student approaches; student punches Stolz; Stolz’s leg is skyward after he fell to ground from first punch and slammed head on pavement. His classmate punched him once more as he laid on the ground. Screengrabs from Taylor Ring video exhibit.

A $27 million settlement has been reached with the family of Diego Stolz, a California eighth-grader who died in 2019 after he was bullied and assaulted by two fellow classmates during a brutal attack at school.

The settlement from the Moreno Valley Unified School District is the largest-ever paid out for school bullying, according to attorneys for the boy’s guardians Juana and Felipe Salcedo. The Salcedos began caring for Stolz after his biological parents died; Stolz was just 13 when he died after the incident at Landmark Middle School in Moreno Valley.

David Ring, one attorney representing Stolz’s family, said in a statement Thursday that Diego’s death was particularly tragic because of how easily preventable it was and that if the school “had simply prioritized anti-bullying policy” before this fateful episode, an entirely different outcome would have been possible.

“This lawsuit puts schools on notice to find ways to effectively deal with bullying and to enact real anti-bullying policies. Although his family’s grief can never be taken away, we believe real change will come and there will be a renewed focus on anti-bullying programs across the nation,” another family attorney Neil Gehlawat said Thursday.

Family of boy dead after school assault receives $27 million

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