Suit Alleges School Officials Ignored Attacks On Girl Before Concussion

LOS ANGELES (CNS) - A lawsuit was filed on behalf of a student who alleges officials at a Los Angeles Unified campus in Tarzana did not do enough to stop her from being bullied for two years by classmates, including one attack that left her with a concussion in 2020.

The plaintiff is identified only as Z.S. in her Los Angeles Superior Court lawsuit against the LAUSD and Jennifer Yoo, the principal of Gaspar de Portola Middle School. The suit filed Thursday on her behalf by her father alleges negligence, negligent hiring, training, supervision and retention and negligent supervision and seeks unspecified damages.

An LAUSD representative could not be immediately reached for comment.

The girl, whose age is not given in the suit, attended de Portola Middle School from 2018-20. According to the complaint, several older students began harassing her in the fall of 2018, but the suit does not state if the other pupils were male or female.

An LAUSD employee told Z.S.'s parents that she should try to stay away from those older students since they were bullies, but took no action to prevent their behavior, the suit alleges.

In March 2019, a group of students followed Z.S. into a school bathroom, banged on a door and threatened to attack her, according to the suit. The plaintiff and her parents reported the incident to an LAUSD employee and the de Portola assistant principal, but once again, nothing was done to identify the perpetrators and punish them or to protect her from future attacks, the suit alleges.

In October 2019, other students battered Z.S. while she was in a school bathroom, leaving her with physical and emotional damage, according to the suit, which says the assailants wore hoods on their heads and she could not identify them.

Another Portola administrator who knew about the bathroom attack said after an investigation that he could not identify those involved and described the incident in a report as a “threat,'' the suit states.

The administrator “deliberately did not undertake a meaningful investigation and allowed the students who battered Z.S. to go unpunished, thereby endangering Z.S., further,'' the lawsuit alleges.

In January 2020, a student identified by the assistant principal as someone with a history of misbehavior and violence at school threw an object at Z.S. that hit her head during lunch, but once again nothing was done to discipline the girl's assailant, the suit alleges.

The plaintiff and her parents subsequently met with the assistant principal and expressed their concerns, and the assistant principal said he would investigate but did not precisely say what he would do, according to the suit.

In March 2020, while walking to class, someone punched the girl on top of her head, causing her to fall to the ground and black out, the suit states. She was unable to get up for several minutes and was later taken to a hospital, where she was diagnosed with a concussion, according to the complaint, which alleges the school administration knew or should have known that her assailants were prone to violent behavior and that she had been repeatedly bullied prior to the March 2020 attack.

“Nevertheless, defendants took no steps to protect Z.S,'' the suit alleges. “Instead, they allowed her to continue to be vulnerable to attack.''

Photo: Getty Images

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