MORENO VALLEY (CBSLA) — Scores of irate parents attended a meeting this evening demanding to know if school officials knew a teen left critically injured after being attacked at Landmark Middle School was being bullied.
CBS2/KCAL9’s Nicole Comstock says parents didn’t get the answer.
The teen — identified as 13-year-old Diego — is shown being punched in the face in a video that has gone viral. After being punched, witnesses said the teen hit his head on a concrete pillar.
Comstock said Diego’s family is asking everyone to pray for him and to pray for a miracle.
The fact the teen is clinging to life is, no doubt, what got many parents upset.
“Was the school aware that Diego was being bullied and was mentioned on social media? And if so, why was nothing done?” asked one parent.
The principal and district officials said they were looking into that.
The crowd repeatedly told them to answer the question.
Someone close to the victim told Comstock the school was informed that Diego was being bullied last week and that this was not an isolated incident.
Other parents shared similar stories.
“Bullying in Moreno Valley is an ongoing issue and every time it’s brought up it’s swept under the rug,” says Leonardo Gonzalez.
“Come up with a solution, and it’s year after year,” says grandparent Sandra Murphy.
She says she’s been going to Moreno Valley Unified School Board meetings for three years and sees the same parents reporting the same bullies.
“And they come back three, two months later with the same problem,” Murphy says.
District leaders discussed how complicated education codes and state laws are when it comes to specific consequences for bullying. But that they take all bullying reports seriously.
Angel Adams says when she used the protocols in place to report her granddaughter was being bullied at an elementary school in the district, their response was, “We’ll get back to you.”
“How many more Diegos do we need for the school district to take action?” said a parent.
While parents and school officials didn’t come up with an agreement on how, specifically, the attack on Diego could have been prevented, many agreed that they needed to work together for solutions — as Diego continues to fight for his life.
“Right now,” said one, “I lift up Diego, I lift up his family.”
The district said they planned another meeting that would focus on solutions to the problems of bullying.
“The format we will use is a study circles approach that breaks attendees into smaller working groups so that all voices have a chance to be heard,” a public information officer for the district said.
“It’s a speak-listen-speak approach where we orient them, let them respond and react and we synthesize the collective input.”
Anahi Velasco added, “We have a shared responsibility and we can fulfill that together.”