Family of Stabbing Victim Sues LA Unified School District

Image credit: Family Photo

Family members of Cindi Santana, a South East End High School student stabbed to death by her ex-boyfriend, have filed a lawsuit against the Los Angeles Unified School District and school principal Maria Sotomayor alleging “wrongful death, negligence and intentional infliction of emotional distress.” They are seeking unspecified damages.

The attack occurred on school grounds. Abraham Lopez, the attacker, approached Santana and started a confrontation. He then started choking her and stabbed her repeatedly. A fellow student and school dean attempted to stop the attack and were also stabbed.

According to the suit, Meza and her late daughter met with Sotomayor shortly before the attack to discuss alleged threats Lopez made against her.

They also told the principal that Lopez was about to be released from jail for making the menacing statements and that the girl was worried about what might happen to her, according to the complaint.

Sotomayor and the LAUSD promised them Cindi would be safe, according to the plaintiffs.

In reality, (they) did nothing to protect Santana while (she) was attending school…,” the suit alleges. “Sadly, (their) actions and omissions led to Cindi’s death.”

Los Angeles Unified School District Superintendent John Deasy said in October that Meza notified Sotomayor about Lopez’s alleged threats and that campus security officials were on the lookout for him. Lynwood Patch, 29 Mar 2012.

Santana’s death has brought a great deal of attention to the issue of teen dating violence in Los Angeles area schools. Middle school students recently celebrated Denim Day, keeping Cindi in mind as they distributed information to prevent sexual violence.