ROCKAWAY, N.J. — The family of a 12-year-old who committed suicide has filed a lawsuit against the young girl's school district, claiming it failed to protect her from months of intense bullying.
Mallory Grossman, a sixth-grader at Copeland Middle School in Rockaway, New Jersey, killed herself on June 14, 2017, following months of “ongoing and systematic bullying” that her family says caused her to suffer at school, according to a lawsuit filed on Tuesday.
Her parents, Dianne and Seth Grossman, filed a wrongful death suit against the Rockaway Township Board of Education and its staff, citing at least 14 bullying incidents they say drove her to kill herself.
One incident involved messages where the bullies allegedly asked her "when are you going to kill yourself?" according to suit. The Grossmans said they could provide evidence to prove that the school system could have prevented the alleged attacks.
The suit did not name any particular teachers, but it said staff at Copeland had failed to provide a safe and secure environment for students. They called on the school to change how it handles physical and online bullying.
The parents said they addressed the alleged bullying in a meeting with Mallory and officials at Copeland just before her death, saying their daughter was "suffering at the school," but nothing changed, according to the suit.
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Dianne Grossman said the bullies still haven't been punished.
"We know that the poor behavior and poor decisions these kids make has not changed," she told New York ABC station WABC. "They do not believe ultimately that they are responsible for it."
"Our family is forever changed because they chose not to put systems in place, they chose not to protect her, so I want other school systems to learn from this and to start making immediate changes within their buildings," she added.
Rockaway's Board of Education has previously called the Grossmans' allegations "categorically false," but declined to elaborate Tuesday, citing an ongoing investigation, according to local news site NJ.com.