N.J. Parents Sue School District After Daughter’s Suicide
The parents of 12-year-old Mallory Grossman are suing her school district in the wake of her suicide in June. They believe that the school was negligent when it ignored allegations that Mallory’s classmates were cyberbullying her.
According to the suit, Mallory’s classmates at Copeland Middle School had been bullying her since October of last year. She told her parents right away. After that, Seth and Dianne Grossman approached administrators of the Rockaway Township School District on a monthly basis, trying to speak to someone about their daughter’s ordeal.
However, although the administrators told them that the school was investigating the matter, they ultimately dismissed the parents’ concerns.
“I‘m going to make the assumption that the school did something, but I’m also going to make the assumption, based on where we are today, that they didn’t do enough,” Mrs. Grossman told NBC News.
According to Bruce Nagel, the family’s attorney, the classmates’ cruel messages were the cause of Mallory’s death. “There were texts, there was Snapchat, there was Instagram, for months she was told she’s a loser, she had no friends and finally she was even told, ‘Why don’t you kill yourself?’,” he said in a statement.
Photos accompanying at least two of the malicious Instagram posts were taken on school grounds. Nagel’s office has not yet released or independently verified the texts.
Mallory’s classmates also allegedly bullied her in person, giving her “dirty looks” and excluding her from their lunch table.
In response to the torment, Mallory’s grades dropped from As and Bs to Cs and Ds. She complained of headaches and stomachaches to get out of going to school.
At one point, the school met with the parents to discuss Mallory’s failing grades. However, Mrs. Grossman claims that “they were not at that time concerned with her emotional well being.”
Hours before Mallory took her own life on June 14, Mrs. Grossman appealed directly to the mother of one of the bullies. “I can tell you that the mother dismissed it, said it was just a big joke and that I really shouldn’t worry about it,” she said. “Even after I asked her daughter to please stop texting Mallory, three minutes later a text message — a series of text messages — came through from that child.”
On Wednesday, Rockaway Township Superintendent Greg McGann released a statement on the school district’s website.
Because the case is still under investigation by the Morris County Prosecutor’s Office, and also the subject of a tort claim, under the advice of legal counsel, The Rockaway Township School District cannot discuss this case in public or with media. The teachers, staff and administrators within the Rockaway Township School District are, as they have always been, and will continue to be, committed to protecting the rights and safety for all our students.
Last year, the district released a self-assessment report on how it dealt with bullies. Copeland Middle School received a 74 out of 78.