⚫ The suicide of an 11-year-old in her NJ school has left many unanswered questions

⚫ The girl reported being bullied in weeks before her death, her mom says

⚫ National nonprofit against school violence will do its own Mt. Holly probe

MOUNT HOLLY — Nearly two months after the reported in-school suicide of a bullied and grieving 11-year-old, officials have faced growing public pressure to share security camera footage from that harrowing day with the girl’s mother.

An online petition has been collecting signatures, supporting Elaina LoAlbo finally being able to view the Feb. 6 security footage from F. W. Holbein Middle School in Mount Holly, where Felicia LoAlbo-Melendez was found unresponsive by another student within a restroom, according to the Burlington County Prosecutor’s Office last week.

Authorities do not believe foul play was involved but Felicia's mother, as well as a parent of one of her friends, say Felicia, who had recently lost her father, had been bullied.

It was at least the second suicide death of a New Jersey student this year connected to reports of bullying, as New Jersey 101.5 previously reported.

Felicia LoAlbo-Melendez (courtesy Elaina LoAlbo) Mount Holly in school suicide bullying reports
Felicia LoAlbo-Melendez (courtesy Elaina LoAlbo)

⚫ National nonprofit against school violence will do its own Mt. Holly probe

A national nonprofit organization created in the wake of the Uvalde, Texas school massacre has announced an independent review of the in-school suicide in Mount Holly.

The Uvalde Foundation For Kids said as of Sunday, it has launched an official independent review of the death of the sixth grade student, who had reported her own bullying in the weeks before her death, according to Elaina LoAlbo.

The foundation that is dedicated to ending school violence was created after the May 24, 2022 mass shooting at Robb Elementary School in TX in which 19 children and two adults were killed.

By the last week of March, the Burlington County Prosecutor’s Office had finished up its own investigation, including a review of the Holbein school’s surveillance cameras and “determined that she was alone in the restroom when this tragic action happened.”

An autopsy by the Philadelphia Medical Examiner’s Office found that Felicia LoAlbo-Melendez’s Feb. 8 death at Philadelphia Children’s Hospital was of complications from a suicide attempt.

“The investigation further determined that no foul play was involved," prosecutors said.

The prosecutor’s office then shared the results of its investigation — though not the security footage — with her mother.

Felicia LoAlbo-Melendez (courtesy Elaina LoAlbo) Mount Holly in school suicide bullying reports
Felicia LoAlbo-Melendez (courtesy Elaina LoAlbo)

⚫ Community support for LoAlbo-Melendez family, reaches beyond Mt. Holly

A GoFundMe campaign has also been collecting donations for the family to help cover expenses of their continued needs since losing their husband/father and then Felicia.

In organizing the online fundraiser on behalf of Elaina LoAlbo and her two sons, Barbara Kelly wrote “While no amount of money can ever reverse the past, this helps ease the future.”

6th grader girl suicide in school F.W. Holbein Middle School, Mount Holly (mtholly.k12.nj.us)

⚫ Mt Holly school officials quiet so far on bullying concerns

A letter on Feb. 8 from Schools Superintendent Robert Mungo confirmed a student’s death without further comment on the fatal incident within the middle school.

“Dear Mount Holly School Community: Today, we learned of the passing of one of our students. This tragic news impacts the entire school community.”

The letter from Mungo continued “Our priority is to provide support and direction during this extremely difficult time. We will continue to work as an administrative team alongside our Board and staff to respond to our school community’s needs,” while sharing several websites and phone numbers for mental health and counseling resources.

As of Monday, requests by New Jersey 101.5 for comment from Mungo, Mount Holly Board of Education Secretary Evon DiGangi and Holbein Middle School Principal Daniel Finn had not been answered.

Anyone experiencing suicidal thoughts or mental health-related distress can also dial 988 to connect to the Suicide and Crisis Lifeline.

Erin Vogt is a reporter and anchor for New Jersey 101.5. You can reach her at erin.vogt@townsquaremedia.com

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