A middle school student in California was left with severe brain and spine injuries after a student choked him, a lawsuit claimed.
The incident involved a 12-year-old victim and a 14-year-old student. The 14-year-old shoved the other student against a wall in a stranglehold at the Animo Westside Charter Middle School in Los Angeles, which receives funding from Bill and Melinda Gates via Green Dot, the complaint said. The organization Green Dot oversees the charter school.
“The violent choking attack caused significant permanent neurological and physical injury and emotional terror to a completely vulnerable child who was betrayed by the school entrusted to protect him,” the lawsuit said, reported the New York Daily News.
Video footage of the incident was obtained by TMZ, showing the older boy grabbing the smaller student by the backpack. Other students are seen standing around the melee.
A school worker appears in the video and looks to see the incident unfolding. However, when the larger boy moves away, she apparently did nothing.
“As plaintiff grasped for his last breath, defendant staff member Doe 1 callously walks away without offering any aid or assistance. Plaintiff was then left to drift in and out of consciousness and suffer from seizures for a significant amount of time,” the 19-page lawsuit said.
According to the Daily News, citing the suit, the larger boy pulls up the smaller boy and walks him to a water fountain. The victim is said to have suffered a seizure and was foaming at the mouth.
California woman sues school district claiming her son was left with permanent brain and spinal injuries after another student choked him during a bullying incident last year. https://t.co/NZ7qoZUFIh
— NBC News (@NBCNews) August 15, 2019
The complaint said that he was passed out after being carried by a staffer and placed on the floor. Paramedics were called 20 minutes later, the suit alleged.
The boy is suing the school for negligence. Bill and Melinda Gates are also mentioned in the suit, but they are not being sued, according to the Daily News.
The mother said officials “failed to take adequate action in order to protect the other students at the school,” NBC News reported. She also claimed that staff members didn’t tell her what happened to her child. Other students told her that he was choked.
Her lawyer, Ben Meiselas, alleged that school officials acted improperly.
The family of 12-year-old boy says in a lawsuit he suffered permanent brain damage after a bullying incident and it’s the school’s fault https://t.co/NSVwGl12j9
— ABC7 Eyewitness News (@ABC7) August 14, 2019
“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,” he said. “This is unacceptable and every adult working for this school should be haunted by their conduct for the rest of their lives.”
According to NBC Los Angeles, the mother said her son suffered permanent brain and spinal injuries during the January 2018 incident.
Footage of the incident can be seen below (Warning: graphic):
A spokesperson for Green Dot told KABC: “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. We are naturally concerned by the incident portrayed in media coverage.”