Moreno Valley tragedy prompts district reflection on disciplinary procedures

By JOSEPH QUESADA

The Redlands Unified School District offers resources and encouragement to staff, students, parents and community members to ensure the safety and wellbeing of students. Similar flyers and information are posted across all RUSD campuses. (Image provided by Redlands Unified School District)

13-year-old Diego Stolz died from the injuries sustained from a brutal on-campus attack at Landmark Middle School on Sept. 16. 

The Moreno Valley School District came under fire after Stolz, a student at Landmark Middle School, was allegedly cornered by two other boys and violently beaten until he stumbled headfirst into a concrete pillar, triggering a seizure, according to the Riverside County Sheriff’s Department. The authorities said that 13-year-old was transported to a local hospital where he then went into a coma and eventually passed away a little over a week later on Sept. 24. The brawl that took Stolz’s life was captured on video and posted to Facebook shortly after the fight.

Students and staff close to Stolz informed authorities that this violent outburst was not the first time that Stolz was subject to harassment on campus. The bullying was reportedly occurring for weeks with little to no response from school administration. 

Diego Stolz’s death is a case of on-campus bullying that had a horrific outcome. According to the Desert Sun News, the family of the 13-year-old victim is pushing a lawsuit on the Moreno Valley School District, seeking a settlement of 100 million dollars to account for wrongful death and civil violations. This death is sure to incite monumental changes in the disciplinary and safety programs of all schools in the district. 

On-campus bullying is nothing new to schools across America. In fact, many schools are taking extra measures to ensure that kids are able to report any harassment in an effort to prevent further escalation. For example, the San Bernardino School District is beginning to implement a system across all schools where students can anonymously report bully situations to staff. A group of district professionals is then sent out to the school to deal with the issue and ensure the safety of the student. 

Redlands Unified School District also holds bully prevention among one of its highest priorities. The RUSD website has information that states, “The Redlands Unified School District works hard every day to ensure students accelerate their academic achievement, and the safety and well-being of our students is a top priority.”

Students experiencing on campus bullying of any form should visit RUSD’s website under the student services section to explore options on how to seek help.

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