Mallory’s Army mom, whose bullied child took her own life, on what NJ can do
What can be done to stop the bullying in New Jersey? That's the question so many of us are asking after 14-year-old Adriana Kush took her own life after being bullied at Central Regional High School in Bayville; to the point where she was being beaten and dragged down the school hallway, all while being filmed for all to see.
Those who did it were finally charged, school Superintendent Triantafillos Parlapanides resigned, and we're still left with the same burning question.
Dianne Grossman, whose 12-year-old daughter Mallory died by suicide in 2017 after intense bullying, and who went on to form Mallory's Army, called my New Jersey 101.5 show to discuss answers.
She also wrote me this email.
June 14, 2017, was a typical day until it wasn't. Mallory Grossman was a 12-year-old 'all-American little girl', she loved cheerleading, gymnastics, and nature. When she wasn't tumbling on her trampoline, she was crafting bracelets to sell at her campground in Saugerties NY for Camp Good Days, her charity of choice. Mallory is the youngest of 4 children in the Grossman family.
Dianne Grosman tells the story of Mallory's bullying.
The Grossman family lives in Rockaway NJ, Morris County. After more than 9 months of bullying at Copeland Middle school - Sadly Mallory died by suicide after images of her were posted online. Images were taken on school grounds during school hours, sadly the school's solution was for Mallory to be 'all in' and the blame for her abuse became her problem to navigate. Multiple complaints were made to the school over the course of her 6th-grade year. She was told to 'hug it out', she was physically threatened, isolated to eat lunch in the guidance office, and spent many lonely days in the library to avoid verbal abuse by her bullies during the school day. Mallory was removed from class to avoid having her chair kicked, her hair pulled, and name-calling. This added to her isolation and feeling SHE was the problem.
And then it happened,
On June 14th, after a 3-hour meeting with the Principal & guidance counselor, Mallory went home & ended her life a few hours later.
Dianne formed Mallory's Army. She explains.
Mallory's Army is a 501. C(3) charitable organization who's traveled across this country sharing Mallory's story to help shed light on the epidemic stealing our children's future. The CDC continues to advise teen/ tween suicide is on the rise, directly linked to bullying, social media overuse, and cyberbullying.
Dianne Grossman worked with Senator Pennachio and Senator Diegnan
to create new legislation; informally named Mallory's Law, NJ S3433.
Mallory's Law revises provisions required in school districts policy; provides for civil liability of parents of minors adjudicated delinquent for cyber-harassment or harassment; and increases certain fines against parents.
The law also puts a ticket system in place for parents to appropriately report cases of bullying so the school can stick to the 10-day investigation period to ensure procedures are followed.
Dianne refers to the law as a "base hit. While it does not eradicate bullying, it forces schools to make changes to their existing procedures and to take parents' concerns into account when addressing this type of behavior; in school & out."
Mallory's Army also has an "after-school special" style documentary. This project is designed for parents and schools to use in their "toolbox" to learn more
about the dangers of harassment, educate on the lacking accountability surrounding this danger, and to involve the community; including first responders.
Dianne's best advice for parents as their kids once again walk through the doors of school:
🔴 Role-play with your children. Learning how to respond appropriately to bad behavior is a skill we could all work on. "emotional intelligence or practice being an upstander is more than just a phrase. It's a verb and requires actions from everyone. Social & emotional intelligence is a muscle if we don't use it - we lose it."
🔴 Monitor all devices. Random full spot checks are important and necessary. It's not enough to follow them, you must make sure the apps your children are using
you are familiar with and educated in. If you don't know how to use the app - don't let your kids download it. It's that simple."
🔴 Practice yourself by limiting your screen time. If we want our kids to have a healthy relationship with electronic devices - It starts with us.
Follow Mallory's Army on Facebook, The Carpet Girl on Instagram, Dianne's personal page, or their website. Dianne & Seth Grossman are NJ small business owners - using their lives to improve the quality of yours.
"Together we can live what Mallory referred to as 'a bracelet KIND of life.' We can 'blue out bullying' with small steps & empowering students to use their social media for good and not hate," Grossman says.
School presentations will be available again in September for the 2023-24 school year.
To learn more about how you can support this NJ Grassroots organization, visit
1-in-4 students report being bullied at school, and online. "It's time we do more."
Opinions expressed in the post above are those of New Jersey 101.5 talk show host Steve Trevelise only. Follow him on Twitter @realstevetrev.
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