Four students have been charged with an alleged hallway attack on a 14-year-old classmate who committed suicide days later, authorities said.
Adriana Kuch was found dead at her home in Bayville, New Jersey, on February 3, two days after she was allegedly beaten by a group of students at Central Regional High School in Berkeley Township.
Adriana’s father, Michael Kuch, wrote in Facebook posts and in interviews that a video of the assault had been posted online to “mock her”.
On Friday, Ocean County Prosecutor Bradley D. Billhimer announced that four female students at the school have been criminally charged.
One was charged with aggravated assault, two with conspiracy to commit aggravated assault and a fourth with harassment, Billhimer said.
The names of the students were not released. They had already been suspended by the school district.
“Each youth and their guardian received a copy of their complaint and were released pending future court hearings,” added Billhimer.
Mr. Kuch is furious at the school’s handling of the attack on his daughter.
He said nbc new york that the school failed to notify the police, although Adriana was left bloodied and bruised, and passed out afterwards.
Kuch told the network that one of the girls who assaulted his daughter had been threatening her online for several years and that he believes the bullying drove his daughter to suicide.
He filed a police report the night of the attack and said nbc new york that if the school had acted earlier to remove the viral video, her daughter might still be alive.
Now, he wants the video to be widely seen.
“I want the whole world to know what these animals did to my daughter,” said Kuch. nbc new york.
In the 30-second clip, Adriana, a freshman student, is seen walking down a hallway with her boyfriend when a student suddenly starts hitting her in the face with a water bottle.
When falling to the ground, the student continues to punch her in the head and pull her hair. Applause can be heard coming from other students.
After about 30 seconds, two school officials intervene. She was treated by the school nurse for her injuries.
The superintendent of the area, Triantafillos Parlapanides, said in a statement to NJ.com the decision not to take the attack to the police was in line with school policy.
“The entire district is shaken by the loss of such a young child. Our thoughts and prayers go out to the family,” Parlapanides told the news site in a statement.
Later, Kuch accused the school of lying to him about the seriousness of the attack.
On Wednesday, more than 200 students walked out of the school to protest the bullying allegations. News 12 New Jersey reported.
According to a report by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, youth who report engaging in bullying behavior and being bullied are at increased risk for suicide.
It added that suicide-related behavior is “complicated” and is usually not the result of a single source of trauma or stress.
If you are experiencing feelings of distress and isolation, or are struggling to cope, The Samaritans offers support; you can speak to someone free of charge by phone, confidentially, on 116 123 (UK and ROI), email [email protected]or visit the Samaritans website to find details of the nearest branch.
If you live in the US and you or someone you know needs mental health assistance right now, call the National Suicide Prevention Helpline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255). The Helpline is a free and confidential emergency hotline that is available to everyone 24 hours a day, seven days a week. If you are in another country, you can go to www.befrienders.org to find a helpline near you.