Coroner rules accidental death following a fight, while family alleges victim was bullied

According to a report released on Tuesday by the County of Los Angeles Medical Examiner, a 16-year-old girl died from “accidental” “sequelae of blunt head trauma” 10 days after being involved in a violent brawl at her Los Angeles high school.

On March 5, Shaylee Mejia got into a brawl at Manual Arts High School. According to the Los Angeles Times, ABC 7, and KTLA 5, video evidence shows Mejia striking her head against a lavatory stall before falling.

Her mother, Maria Juarez, told KTLA that Mejia had been complaining of a headache for many days after the attack.

Four days later, Mejia fainted at a birthday party, and a friend drove her to the hospital. According to the Los Angeles Times, the youngster was unconscious and in critical condition when her mother arrived. She had suffered a cerebral hemorrhage.

Her mother, 34, was then informed about the March 5 attack. Mejia died on March 15, having never regained consciousness while in the hospital.

On Tuesday, March 26, Los Angeles medical examiner investigator Kristy McCracken and deputy medical examiner Dr. Emily Lo described Mejia’s death as an accident caused by a previous injury. There are no additional notes on the report.

Juarez said she first learned of her daughter’s alleged bullying at school after a fight on December 13. Juarez told the Los Angeles Times that she discovered her daughter at home, shivering and sweating. After considerable trepidation, Mejia told her mother that she was being tormented since she was a new student at Manual Arts High School. As a result, she was involved in a fight that December day and had bruises all over her arms and chest.

Juarez then attempted to inform supervisors of what happened the following day. She claimed her concerns were rejected, but she remained on-site until a report was made. She said that the faculty neglected to take action and follow up with her, according to the Los Angeles Times.

“As a mother, I had complete confidence in leaving her at school and knowing everything was fine,” Juarez told the Los Angeles Times. “I am in shock. I have another child who is three years old now. How will I send him to school? I’ll only be thinking about sending my child to his death again.”

Juarez has hired attorney Luis Carrillo, who is preparing to file a lawsuit.

“You can see how her head hits that particular wall,” Carrillo told the Los Angeles Times, referring to camera evidence. “The way her head impacted the wall was horrible.

“They don’t protect the kids,” Carrillo explained. “I believe that [Juarez’s] negligence to safeguard her child is the primary reason she is currently dead. “If they had acted in December, the child would still be alive.”

Five days after Mejia’s death, Principal Alejandro Macias issued a statement expressing condolences “to those who are impacted by this loss, including the student’s family, friends, and teachers,” adding, “Please know that our entire school community offers our support,” according to KTLA.

A representative for the Los Angeles Unified School District told PEOPLE in a statement Wednesday, “I am saddened to report the recent death of one of our students off campus.” On behalf of the whole school community, I’d like to express my heartfelt condolences to all affected by this tragedy, particularly the student’s family, friends, and teachers. At this time, we ask that the privacy of those affected be maintained at this difficult time. Please know that our entire school community is here to help you.”

They went on to say, “Every member of the Manual Arts High School community matters, and this loss impacts us all.”

They went on to claim that the school has provided “crisis counselors” and additional “support resources” for pupils, concluding, “While this tragic incident took place outside of school hours and off campus, our heartfelt thoughts remain with those affected by this loss.”

A GoFundMe campaign was launched to assist Juarez in raising funds for funeral expenses.

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