The family of a New Jersey girl who killed herself in June is suing their daughter’s school district for not stopping the alleged cyberbullying they believe led to the 12-year-old’s death.
Mallory Grossman took her own life after months of “relentless bullying by Snapchat and text messages from several of her classmates,” the law firm of Nagel Rice of Roseland said in a statement Tuesday.
Beginning last October, Mallory would come home and tell her mother about the dirty looks, harassment, name-calling, silent treatments and versions of exclusion she suffered at Copeland Middle School, the girl's mother, Dianne Grossman, told NBC New York.
"To a child who's 12, constant dirty looks, it does change the makeup of who you are,” Grossman told the television station.
As a result, Mallory began suffering from chronic headaches and stomach aches, and her grades plummeted, her mother said.
Then in June, Mallory took her own life.
“Mallory Rose Grossman has left this world a better place,” her obituary read. “Those who were fortunate to have known her and loved her are better people for it. Her beautiful and free spirit will remain with us for the rest of eternity.”
Mallory was remembered for her compassion and loving nature, as well as her selfless desire to help others.
“Her purpose and impact on this world is beyond what we can see or feel,” her obituary said. “And everyone who takes her lessons are (sic) better for having done so. She inspired. She was kind. She was innocent. She was beautiful. And she was pure.”
And the talented cheerleader and gymnast’s death was preventable, according to attorney Bruce Nagel, who said the Rockaway Township School District knew about but did nothing to stop the unrelenting torment Mallory suffered.
“Mallory’s parents repeatedly asked the principal and others at the Copeland Middle School to stop this bullying and they took no steps to do so,” the firm said.
The Grossmans are suing for gross negligence, Nagel said.
“This tragedy could have been prevented and this lawsuit should be a wake-up call to every school in every hamlet of our great country that cyberbullying is going on every day and that the schools must immediately take steps to stop this and protect every student in the school,” he said.
The family is also considering suing the parents of the girls allegedly involved in the bullying.
Since Mallory’s death, a GoFundMe page created to help her parents, but has since taken on a goal of helping other children, has raised more than $76,000.
“Mallory was always trying to think of ways to make money to help her favorite charities, and helping other children, so please know that not only are your donations helping the Grossmans, they will be used to help others and if anyone can make things happen it's [Mallory’s mother] Dianne,” the page noted.
Messages left for the Rockaway Township School District for comment were not immediately returned.