The family of a 13-year-old student who was allegedly physically assaulted by the top staffer at a Palm Springs tutoring center is suing the employee and the school.
The family of Kadyn Lantry-Hoffman alleges that on May 17, Stepping Stones Executive Director Darrin Erb “negligently and/or intentionally proceeded to push, hit and punch” the boy “in an unprovoked fit of rage.”
According to the suit filed in Palm Springs last Thursday, the alleged assault was witnessed by other students, including the boy’s brother, at the school at 1281 N. Gene Autry Trail.
Stepping Stones representatives could not immediately be reached for comment.
A Palm Springs police investigation was conducted, but as of Monday, no criminal charges had been filed against Erb, nor was he arrested during the initial investigation earlier this year.
A police department statement issued shortly after police were notified read, “We are investigating this incident and take all allegations of abuse seriously. A full investigation into what led up to the alleged abuse is underway in an attempt to hold those responsible and accountable for their actions.”
Palm Springs police did not provide details on the severity of the boy’s injuries. but his mother, Storey Lantry Chavira, posted photos on Facebook of her son in a neck brace, with bruising around his right eye, and urged other Stepping Stones parents to pull their children from the school.
“This grown, adult `man’ is claiming self-defense,” Chavira wrote in her post. “My heart is dying for my son, this man was not arrested … Please, PLEASE, if your children attend this learning center or if you know of anyone whose children attend, I urge you, BEG you, to remove them immediately!”
The school “works in cooperation with several charter schools throughout Southern California” and “offers a learning center for both homeschooling and independent study learning,” according to its website, which states that Stepping Stones offers “professional tutoring and professional therapeutic services” for students 4 to 24 years old.