Angry families and students of Adriana Kuch, the 14-year-old New Jersey girl who was bullied into taking her own life earlier this month slammed school officials for not doing more to prevent the tragedy during a packed, and heated, Thursday night school board meeting.
The crowd of parents and community members who attended the school district’s first board meeting since Kuch took her own life on Feb. 3.
“[Adriana] already reported numerous reports about how she was being bullied, and you guys just sat there and did nothing,” one of her friends, Hailie Engesser, told the board in the auditorium of the Ocean County, NJ, high school.
“It’s actually really, really hard to be going to school because of all the bullying and everything that’s been going on. But it’s the fact that you didn’t notify the police about that or about Adriana. She was on the floor blacked out . . . You guys could have prevented that,” said Engesser, a ninth-grader.
Roman Velez, a 16-year-old sophomore, said he’s been desensitized to all of the racist comments thrown his way at school.
“I have been called multiple racist things, multiple slurs, to the point where if I hear [them], I don’t bat an eye. I’m used to it,” he said.
Despite reporting past incidents to officials, Velez said they were “swept under the rug.”
As soon as the meeting began, the rowdy crowd began shouting at the board as they moved through regular business.
“We don’t care about your agenda, we want to get to what we’re all here for!” one woman screamed.
Board President Denise Wilson threatened to shut down the meeting as she conducted a vote to appoint new superintendent Douglas Corbett to replace former superintendent Triantafillos Parlapanides, who resigned on Saturday.
Kuch died just two days after she was brutally beaten by four other students in a school hallway. The bullying continued for days after the attack as video of it spread on social media, the teen’s family said.
The sickening video shows Kuch’s assailants throwing a drink at her, kicking and punching her and dragging her down the hallway. They pushed her into lockers, pulled her hair and hit her with a 20-ounce water bottle as onlookers laughed. The cops were not called, and her attackers initially only received a suspension.
Four New Jersey teenage girls were charged with the beating. One was charged with aggravated assault, another with harassment and two others with conspiracy to commit aggravated assault, Ocean County Prosecutor Bradley D. Billhimer said. Their names have not been released due to their age.