Mother files lawsuit against school after son bullied, severely beaten

A woman says her 12-year-old boy has permanent brain damage after a horrific attack at school. Now, a year after the incident, attorneys have filed a lawsuit against Amino Westside Charter Middle School in Playa Vista and Green Dot, the organization that oversees Amino Westside. 

Surveillance cameras at Amino Westside, a school the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation has donated millions of dollars to, shows the 8th grader punching the little boy and then putting him in a choke-hold against the wall. We are protecting the identities of those involved in this story. 

“He has severe brain damage, spinal damage and Post-Traumatic Sleep Disorder,” his mom told Fox 11’s Hailey Winslow. “It’s going to be a long road ahead of us.”

“That bully was on YouTube looking up the pressure points in the neck of how to make it as damaging as possible,” said the boy’s attorney, Ben Meiselas, a partner of Geragos & Geragos APC. “He had these violent tendencies. He was waiting for this opportunity, apparently.”

The cameras show a teacher walk by, look at the students and continue walking. The 6th-grade boy falls to the floor.
The 8th grader who realizes he’s really hurt this kid then tries to help him. Surveillance shows him walk the boy inside to the water fountain. Staff members drag the child into the front office, lay him on the floor, and shut the blinds. An administrator calls the boy’s mother.

“I get a horrific phone call. She’s panicking, basically telling me he’s convulsing. He’s having a seizure basically and he’s foaming at the mouth and we think we need to call 911,” his mom said.

She says she then instructs the administrator to call 911. 

“I get there and he’s literally just still laying in the middle of the floor, black and blue,” she recalled. “I turn to her and I’m like, ‘where are the paramedics?’ She said, ‘oh ok, I’ll call them now.’” The boy’s attorney says it took administrators 20 minutes after the bully choked him to call 911.

X-Rays taken last week show significant damage to the child’s brain and neck. His spine will require multiple future surgeries. In school, his mom says his straight ‘A’ grades have fallen to ‘D’s.’

She met with the 8th grader and his parents and decided not to press charges.

“He had some anger issues that the mother was basically pleading with me and saying she was so sorry. They had just buried another one of their sons recently and he was struggling mentally. I have a level of compassion. Thankfully my son is still alive, but I hold a lot of responsibility back toward that school.”

Green Dot Public Schools released a statement on behalf of Animo Westside Charter Middle School that says in part: “We are naturally concerned by the incident portrayed in media coverage. We treat each other with respect and do not tolerate bullying in any form. When instances occur that run counter to our core values and our mission, we promptly and thoroughly investigate any complaint and take appropriate corrective action.”

The little boy’s mom has since enrolled him in a different school.