School sued by family of teen who died by suicide after assault video

Adriana Kuch was found dead at her home in Bayville, New Jersey, in February 2023, two days after she was allegedly beaten by a group of her fellow students

Mike Bedigan
Thursday 01 February 2024 01:20 GMT
Students stage walkout in protest at bullying of Adriana Kuch

The family of a New Jersey teenager who died by suicide days after footage of her being attacked at school is suing the local board of education and school officials.

Adriana Kuch, 14, was found dead at her home in Bayville, New Jersey, two days after she was allegedly beaten by a group of students at Central Regional High School in Berkeley Township.

Four unnamed female students were charged over the alleged beating, which was posted online on TikTok. All four were also suspended by the school.

According to Kuch family attorneys, the lawsuit filed this week against the Central Regional Board of Education and others alleges that officials were aware of “a culture of violence at Central Regional High School” and failed to protect her.

The suit also alleges that they and others should have known that students had been assaulted at the school and "were being recorded and posted to various social media sites by other students."

The family of Adriana Kuch has begun legal action against her New Jersey school district after the bullied teen died by suicide

It was filed days before the one-year anniversary of Adriana’s death. She was attacked on 1 February 2023, and was found dead in her home on 3 February.

"Adriana was the light of our lives, and one year after her horrific and needless death, we are still waiting for justice,” her father, Michael Kuch, said in a statement.

In previous public statements, Mr Kuch blamed her suicide on the school’s inaction in dealing with bullying and its failure to file a police complaint.

He told NJ.com that had the school opened an investigation into the attack after it happened, the video of the incident might not have been posted to social media.

The civil suit seeks unspecified damages for allegations that include negligence, defamation and the infliction of emotional distress. It also seeks unspecified punitive damages.

Online court records did not list attorneys for any of the defendants in the case.

New Jersey school superintendent Triantafillos Parlapanides resigned after statements he made about Adriana Kuch and her family

In the original video of the gang attack, Adriana could be seen walking down a hallway with her boyfriend when a student launched at her and hit her over the head with a water bottle.

As the freshman fell to the ground and lost consciousness, the student continued to punch her in the head and pull her hair, drawing cheers from a watching crowd.

The footage went viral on social media, with some taunting Adriana in the comments.

As well as criticism from the Kuch family, shortly after the incident more than 200 students staged a walkout from the school to protest its handling of bullying allegations.

District superintendent Triantafillos Parlapanides responded to the criticisms by pushing the blame for Adriana’s suicide onto drugs and her parents’ marriage in a statement to DailyMail.com.

His remarks drew a furious response from Mr Kuch and Adriana’s classmates, and shortly after he resigned suddenly after 14 years in the job.

SUICIDE WARNING

If you are experiencing feelings of distress, or are struggling to cope, you can speak to the Samaritans, in confidence, on 116 123 (UK and ROI), email jo@samaritans.org, or visit the Samaritans website to find details of your nearest branch. If you are based in the USA, and you or someone you know needs mental health assistance right now, call the National Suicide Prevention Helpline on 1-800-273-TALK (8255). This is a free, confidential crisis 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.

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