They called it the “knockout game,” and apparently it was simple enough to play: Find an innocent fellow student and punch him once in the face with a set of brass knuckles as he’s walking to class.
That’s according to the attorney who filed a lawsuit Thursday on behalf of Raymundo and Francy Posas and who claims the plaintiffs’ teenage son ended up on the wrong end of the knockout game one day at Alfred Bonnabel Magnet Academy High School in Kenner.
The punch broke the boy’s jaw in two places and knocked out some of his teeth, attorney Gloria Lastra said.
He needed surgery, and the whole experience left him so shaken that his parents sent him to live with out-of-state relatives in hopes of distancing him from the trauma, Lastra said.
“These two boys didn’t have anything against each other,” she added. “He was just walking down the hallway and ‘Bam!’ ”
The Posases are suing the Jefferson Parish School Board and its insurance company for damages, alleging in the suit filed at 24th Judicial District Court in Gretna that Bonnabel officials failed to “maintain a reasonably safe” environment for their son.
The Posas family also is seeking damages from the other boy’s parents, Melissa Abuelhawa and Daniel Colindres, who are accused of being responsible for their child’s actions.
The New Orleans Advocate is not naming either boy in the case because they were minors when the incident occurred. None of the defendants immediately responded to requests for comment.
According to the lawsuit, the victim was headed to class after lunch on Aug. 22, 2014, when he was approached at random by the other boy, who landed a punch “on the right side of his face with a closed fist while wearing brass knuckles.”
Lastra said the boy who threw the punch was arrested and eventually pleaded guilty in Jefferson Parish Juvenile Court. That court was unable to provide any information about the case on Thursday.
Lastra said the boy’s punishment involved serving probation and making restitution to the victim, which essentially covered expenses not paid for by the Medicaid program.
Raymundo and Francy Posas decided to sue Abuelhawa and Colindres in hopes of being compensated for the physical and mental anguish they and their son have suffered since last year, Lastra said. The family also believes that suing Bonnabel could produce a safer campus there and at other Jefferson Parish public schools, Lastra said.
Lastra said authorities last year also investigated the slashing of a 14-year-old student’s face with an eyebrow razor at Bonnabel. Also, in spring 2012, one student claiming to have a gun threatened the life of another at Bonnabel, a lawsuit pending against the Jefferson Parish School Board alleges.
“This is a sad thing for both families,” Lastra said of the case. “Imagine getting a call that your son had done something so terrible.”