Child Suffers Fatal Injuries in School Bullying Incident
Dominick Gallegos, a 12-year-old student at Ulysses S. Grant Elementary School in Colton was killed after witnesses said he was stomped on the chest and stomach by a playground bully during a school soccer game. According to a news report in The Press Enterprise, police say they are still investigating the specifics of the incident and say so far, they don’t see evidence that the death is trauma-related. Police and coroner’s officials responded to the school after the boy collapsed and lost consciousness. He was transported to a regional hospital where he later died.
An 11-year-old boy who was on the field with Dominick told the Press Enterprise that they were all playing soccer when Dominick slipped to the ground. He then got “stomped and kicked in the stomach,” the boy said. The children watched as an ambulance came and took him away. Parents said they were disappointed by the school. One parent said bullying has been and continues to be a serious problem at the school.
We offer our deepest condolences to Dominick Gallegos’s family members. Please keep them in your thoughts and prayers.
How Serious is the Problem?
According to the U.S. Department of Education, about 160,000 children stay home each day from school because they are afraid of being bullied. That is over three million students a month. A national survey of children in grades 6 to 10 found 13 percent reported bullying others, 11 percent reported being the target of bullies and another 6 percent said that they bullied others and were bullied themselves. Experts say bullying often leads to violence, serious personal injuries, loss of self-esteem, depression and even suicide.
In such cases, there are a number of questions that must be asked. Were the students supervised when they were playing on the field? Did any staff members or aides attempt to intervene and stop the stomping or kicking? Have parents reported bullying incidents to the school prior to this incident? How did the school’s administrators respond to that incident?
California law requires that schools have a comprehensive bullying policy in place including a process to address complaints about bullying. Schools are also required to respond in a timely manner to reports or complaints made by parents about bullying on campus. In such cases, an experienced California school bullying lawyer can help injured victims and families that have lost children to bullying better understand their legal rights and options.