Moreno Valley Unified superintendent fired after $27-million settlement in a wrongful-death suit

A teenage girl wipes away tears while standing among other students
Jazmin Salcedo, sister of Diego Stolz, 13, wipes away tears during a press conference announcing a lawsuit against the Moreno Valley Unified School District for the wrongful death of Stolz, who was killed as a result of being bullied at Landmark Middle School in 2019.
(Gina Ferazzi/Los Angeles Times)

The Moreno Valley Unified School District Board of Education voted this week to fire its superintendent on the heels of the district’s $27-million settlement with the family of a middle school student who was bullied and fatally beaten by two classmates.

The board voted 3-2 in a closed session meeting Tuesday to fire Martinrex Kedziora without cause, effective immediately, the district said in a statement. Chief Human Resources Officer Robert Verdi was appointed interim superintendent of schools.

“I would like to thank Dr. Kedziora for his years of service to the Moreno Valley Unified School District,” School Board President Susan Smith said in a statement. “He has exhibited a real love for the students and families of our district. Occasionally there comes a time when institutions such as school districts need to make a change in direction.”


The action came after the Riverside County school district reached a $27-million settlement earlier this month with the family of 13-year-old Diego Stolz, who was attacked by classmates. The family said they had complained about bullying to school officials for at least a year before he was killed.

“This is the largest [bullying] settlement in the United States,” Dave Ring, an attorney for Los Angeles-based Taylor & Ring trial law firm, said after the settlement was reached. “Yet, the family would give all the money back to have their baby, the youngest kid back.”

In September 2019, Stolz was attacked by two 13-year-old Landmark Middle School classmates while standing outside a classroom during a lunch break.

A picture of Diego Stolz smiling stands in a room
Diego Stolz, 13, was killed during a bullying incident in 2019 at Landmark Middle School in Riverside.
(Gina Ferazzi/Los Angeles Times)

In a Facebook video post, an assailant can be seeing getting into Diego’s face as the eighth-grader keeps his hands to his sides. His attacker momentarily retreats only to return and punch Diego in the face.

Diego is then sucker punched in the back of the neck as he reels from the first blow, the video shows. The second hit sends him face first into a nearby concrete pillar. The first bully then takes one more shot at Diego, who is on the ground, before both assailants run away.


Diego was rushed to a nearby hospital where he remained in critical condition for more than a week. He was eventually taken off life support and died Sept. 24, 2019.

Charges of voluntary manslaughter and assault by means of force likely to produce great bodily injury were filed against the two teens who attacked Diego.

Stolz’s family filed a wrongful death lawsuit in October 2019 against the district. His aunt and uncle, Juana and Felipe Salcedo, who raised Stolz for most of his life after the death of his parents, called the settlement a “very bittersweet” victory.

An L.A. Times investigation reported that in the 13 months leading up to Stolz’s death, at least 38 calls relating to criminal or violent allegations were made to the Riverside County Sheriff’s Department about Landmark Middle School. The calls related to threats, assault, battery, disturbances and violations of the state Welfare Institutions Code.

Fourteen police reports were filed in response.

Times staff writer Andrew J. Campa contributed to this report.