The law firm of Cerri, Boskovich & Allard has launched legal action against Gilroy Unified School District, alleging negligent supervision of students that has resulted in unprovoked attacks being shared on social media platforms.
Representing a former student known as Jane Doe, the firm claims in the lawsuit that school officials at Solorsano Middle School were alerted twice by Doe’s parents regarding imminent physical threats to their daughter. Despite these warnings, an assault, later circulated on Snapchat and Instagram, occurred in January 2023. The video reveals an attacker, accompanied by friends who teased the victim, approaching from behind, pulling her hair, and dragging her to the ground before kicking and beating her. No school official is visible in the video at any point during this assault. The victim subsequently required hospital treatment for a concussion.
The victim’s parents, no longer trusting the school’s ability to safeguard their daughter, decided to enroll her in a private institution, incurring personal costs.
According to the lawsuit, the California Education Code specifically mandates school officials to protect students. The suit argues that in this instance, the school authorities failed to take seriously the threats of physical harm, ultimately leading to the assault.
“School violence is a reality that’s worsening,” said attorney Mark Boskovich. “If left unchecked, the outcomes can be tragic and even fatal.” Boskovich had previously represented the parents of Audrie Pott, a Saratoga teenager who took her own life after enduring bullying following a sexual assault.
Boskovich cited a National Center for Education study that suggests over a quarter of middle school pupils have experienced bullying, and nearly 15% have been threatened with, or have been the victims of, physical assaults while at school.
He pointed out, “Gilroy school officials are fully cognizant of the issues around bullying and assault.”
According to the California Healthy Kids Survey, 37% of Gilroy’s 7th graders have been bullied, 16% have been involved in a physical altercation, and almost 30% reported being pushed, shoved, slapped, hit, or kicked at least once. The survey also reveals that 7th graders in Gilroy are the most likely to report harassment, victimization, participation in physical fights, and witnessing a weapon on campus. “This lawsuit aims to tackle the issue to provide students with a secure learning atmosphere,” Boskovich declared.