The tragic suicide of a teenager amid allegations of bullying: what we know about Adriana Kuch’s death when four students are accused

Students at Central Regional High School in Berkeley Township, New Jersey, are mourning the loss of Adriana Kuch, a high school student who committed suicide shortly after a video of her being assaulted by a group of classmates was posted on social media.

The circumstances of Adriana’s death sparked outrage among students and community members at the school and a broader conversation about how best to protect children from the harms of peer bullying in the age of social media.

It also led to criminal charges for students who were filmed attacking her and the resignation of the school superintendent after she blamed Adriana’s death on alleged drug use and other family issues.

What happened?

On February 1, a video appeared on social media showing several students attacking Adriana as she walked down a hallway at her school with her boyfriend. According to a report by, the attack lasted for 30 seconds before school officials intervened and left the 14-year-old bloodied and bruised. Other students could be heard cheering in the background.

Two days later, family members found Adriana dead from suicide at her home in Bayview.

Her father, Michael Kuch, blamed bullying for his daughter’s death and said he took her to the police after the attack and filed a police report that night. He believes that if the school had opened an investigation into the attack after it happened, video of the incident might not have made it to social media.

The superintendent, Triantafillos Parlapanides, said that the district’s decision not to report the assault to the police was in line with its policy.

Adriana Kuch, 14, died after being bullied at her New Jersey school

(NBC News)

But that didn’t happen, and in the week following Adriana’s death, students at Central Regional High School walked out of their classes in protest of the school’s and school district’s handling of the kind of bullying Adriana had faced.

“Adriana took her own life because no one at the school was able to help, care or intervene,” Roman Valez, a sophomore, told WNBC. “In fact, I would like to teach people who bully what they are really doing and how it affects them.”

Who is facing charges?

On Friday, Ocean County District Attorney Bradley D Billhimer announced that his office had filed criminal charges against four female students at the school for their roles in the alleged attack. One of the students was charged with aggravated assault, two with conspiracy to commit aggravated assault, and the last student with harassment.

These students have since been suspended from school following the alleged attack. Because they are minors, their names were not released.

According to Mr. Kuch, one of the girls now facing criminal charges, had been bullying Adriana online for years before the alleged attack. He also told reporters that one of the alleged attackers sent a message to his daughter mocking her after the video was posted on social media.

a wider problem

Parlapanides, the superintendent, resigned over the weekend after telling the daily mail that Adriana had been offered “drug” counseling, but that her father had refused to accept the school’s offer. The now former superintendent had been in office for 14 years.

The comments of Mr. Parlapanides has been met with widespread condemnation, but administrative issues in the school district may not stop with him. Luca Canzoneri, a 15-year-old student at the school, told the daily mail that the school board was “making fun” of its students for protesting after Adriana’s death.

His death is indicative of a broader problem – the prevalence of suicidal ideation and gestures among teenagers in the United States.

A study conducted by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) found that women and teens who identify as LGBTQ+ are reporting record high levels of mental health issues, with 42% of all high school seniors reporting feeling blue. or hopeless at some point in life. during 2021. This number represents an increase of 50% in the last decade.

Experts in the field have linked the emerging mental health crisis among teens to anxiety about the political climate and environment, social media, Covid and rising levels of social isolation. Thirty percent of teen girls said they had considered suicide.

“There is no question that young people are telling us they are in crisis,” said Kathleen Ethier, director of the CDC’s Division of School and Adolescent Health, in comments on the study reported by PBS. “The data really calls us to action.”

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