PLAYA VISTA, Calif. (KCAL/KCBS/CNN) - A California mother is taking legal action following an alleged bullying incident that she says forever changed – physically, mentally and emotionally – her 12-year-old son.
Video of the January 2018 incident shows the 12-year-old victim (right) arrive at his middle school when he is immediately attacked and choked, reportedly by an eighth-grade student. (Source: Animo Westside Charter Middle School/KCAL/KCBS/CNN)
The victim’s mother, only identified as Sarah, says she wants to bring about change at Animo Westside Charter Middle School and make sure there is accountability for her 12-year-old son’s alleged injuries at the hands of a bully.
"It could've been prevented, only if someone cared. That hurts because that's all I have,” the mother said.
Sarah says the January 2018 incident, which was caught on camera, left her son 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 said.
Video shows Sarah’s son arrive at his middle school when he is immediately attacked and choked, reportedly by an eighth-grade student, who appears much bigger than the 12-year-old.
"You see my client cower as he's being choked at various pressure points. Apparently, this bully had went on YouTube to find out how to basically do the most painful pressure points in the neck,” said attorney Ben Meiselas, who is representing Sarah and her son.
Sarah is suing Animo and Green Dot Public Schools, the organization that operates the charter school, for negligence. She alleges the school failed to protect her son.
Meiselas says the school knew about the alleged bully’s violent history and did nothing about it.
The lawyer says video shows a teacher or staff member walk by as the alleged attack was happening, register the incident and continue walking. Shortly thereafter, the accused bully himself tries to help the 12-year-old by taking him to a water fountain.
"You keep watching this video, and it's just a tragedy of errors,” Meiselas said. “The school district has seen the video. The fact that they can watch that video and not so much [as] offer an apology is really, really, really disgusting."
Sarah says her son had a seizure due to the attack, but when she arrived at the school, no one told her why it had happened. She also says no one had called 911.
"By the time I get there, I'm thinking, ‘Paramedics. He's gonna have help.’ My son is literally laying there in the middle of the office floor, completely black and blue,” the mother said.
Sarah says she can’t believe the alleged bully was never expelled. She is now fighting for accountability for what happened to her son.
"No one else is going to pretend that he's invisible. He's not invisible,” she said.
The school said in a statement that it takes seriously the safety of students and quickly addresses bullying of any kind.
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