This is why 12-year-old’s parents say school shares blame for her suicide
ROCKAWAY TOWNSHIP — The parents of a 12-year-old girl who took her own in life in June plan to sue the school district, they said Tuesday in a press conference as they shared details of the girl's death.
Attorney Paul Nagel said that that Mallory Grossman was a "12-year-old bright, happy, vivacious sixth-grader cheerleader who had a love for life." Mallory saved her money and donated it to charity, the attorney said.
But he said her life came to an end after she was cyberbullied mercilessly by text, Snapchat and Instagram.
Standing next to Mallory Grossman's parents, Dianne and Seth, Nagel held up a cell phone and said, "We're here today to bring light to the fact that this small device can be a lethal weapon in the hands of the wrong child." The parents Tuesday filed a notice of intent to sue the district, a required step before actually filing suit.
Nagel said he would be filing a lawsuit against the Rockaway Township school district and administrators at the Copeland Middle School. Nagel alleged school officials did nothing when Mallory's parents brought the cyberbullying, which he said started last October, to their attention.
"We literally went up the line, starting with guidance counselors, and it fell on deaf ears," Nagel said. Dianne Grossman said she was told by the principal the district would "investigate the matter and follow procedure."
Three or four students were identified as being behind the bullying, according to Nagel.
"We are contemplating an action against their parents as well for allowing this to go on for months," Nagel said.
Dianne Grossman said there were also dirty looks, harassment and name-calling. She said other kids gave her daughter the cold shoulder.
"I think the exclusion played an important role in all of that," she said. Mallory was removed from situations that led to bullying "and the school put her back in," Dianne Grossman said. "It got to the point where she didn't want to go to school."
Nagel said "for months she was told she was a loser, she had no friends and finally she was even told 'why don't you kill yourself.'"
Dianne Grossman said Mallory was a quiet child but was well-liked, a good student and an athlete.
"She represented what they couldn't be so therefore she had a target on her back," she said.
"Cyberbullying is an epidemic. It's going on in every town in every city across the land. We must bring light to what is going on and stop it," Nagel said. He announced the "Mal's Army Foundation" to bring attention to cyberbullying across the country.
Dianne Grossman created a Facebook page also called "Mallory's Army" and sold blue bracelets in order to bring attention to cyberbullying, while writing about how she copes with the loss of her daughter.
"Mallory's Army stands for ... getting parents, teachers, educators, students, and communities talking ... then doing," Dianne Grossman wrote.
The Morris County Prosecutor's Office said the investigation is ongoing but had no additional comment. A call by New Jersey 101.5 to the school district Tuesday had not yet been returned.
Contact reporter Dan Alexander at email@example.com.
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