A 12-year-old Los Angeles boy allegedly suffered permanent brain damage and spinal injuries as a result of a bullying incident at Animo Westside Charter Middle School. The boy’s mother is suing the Green Dot Public School District, claiming that Animo Westside administrators were aware of at least one previous event involving the same bully, but failed to act.
The bullied boy was “brutally assaulted and strangled” in the January 2018 incident, according to the lawsuit. Surveillance video shows an older boy punching the 12-year-old in the stomach, shoving him against a wall, then putting his hand on the 12-year-old’s throat. The mother, who has declined to be identified, says her son was choked.
“He is not the same anymore,” the mother told NBC Los Angeles. “Every day, it has been a daily struggle.”
In the video, a staff member appears at the scene, checks it out, then walks away just before the 12-year-old falls to his knees. The boy appears to be having trouble breathing.
The mother is accusing the Green Dot Public School District of negligent supervision and infliction of emotional distress. She says her son had several seizures as a result of the attack, but when she arrived at the school a half-hour after the incident, she discovered nobody had called 911.
“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,” the family’s lawyer, Ben Meiselas, told NBC News. “This is unacceptable and every adult working for this school should be haunted by their conduct for the rest of their lives.”
The mother said her son has permanent brain damage and spinal injuries as a direct result of being choked. Meisalas told NBC News the boy will have to be monitored for the rest of his life and needs assistance with reading and writing.
For their part, the Green Dot Public School District says they have not been served with a lawsuit, but they are concerned for student safety. “We… quickly address bullying of any kind on our campuses,” a district spokesperson told NBC News. “Green Dot is committed to working to ensure all our students receive a quality education in a safe environment where they can learn and grow.”
Kati ‘Jazz’ Gray-Sadler is the founder of Fifty Shades of Purple Against Bullying, an anti-bullying non-profit organization based in Philadelphia, and the mother of a boy who was relentlessly bullied. In a conversation with Parentology about the Animo Westside incident, Gray-Sadler says she was mortified.
“As a parent of a child who was bullied, the headline alone gutted me. I relived the terrifying day my son was bullied and hospitalized. We parents, educators, everyone has a responsibility to protect our children.”
According to the American Society for the Positive Care of Children, one in three students say they’ve been bullied at school. Thirty percent admit to having bullied someone, and 70% say they’ve witnessed bullying.
Boy Suffers Brain Damage From Bullying: Sources
Fifty Shades of Purple Against Bullying
American Society for the Positive Care of Children
Video ABC7 News via YouTube