Mallory Grossman was a lively girl who enjoyed gymnastics and cheerleading. She made jewelry and sold it to raise money for Camp Good Days, a summer camp for children with cancer and children who have lost someone to cancer. That was in the Spring and Summer of 2016. Things would change come that fall, when allegedly relentless bullying occurred at Copeland Middle School.
Apps such as Snapchat, and Instagram were used to send vile, mean spirited messages to the young girl. One message even said “When are you going to kill yourself?” According to her mother and a lawsuit filed, four fellow sixth graders used the apps for ongoing bullying. The bullying happened both on and off school grounds, in the classroom, the lunch room during choir class and on social media. During choir class the girls would kick Mallory’s chair and taunt her. Taunts named in the suit include “ugly,” “fat,” “jiggly,” “rich white girl,” and “a bitch.” At one point the school administrators forced Mallory to hug her bullies instead of dealing with the bullies themselves. Instead of removing the bullies from choir class, they removed Mallory. Doesn’t seem right, does it? Is this a fair way to handle such abusive behavior?
The constant bullying eventually led to Mallory’s suicide death on June 14, 2017. The lawsuit filed in June of 2018 is against Rockaway Township Board of Education, administrators, teachers, and faculty. There were numerous failed attempts to properly escalate the bullying complaints during the school year.
Attorney Neal Goldstein of the firm Goldstein and Bashner weighs in on this tragedy–“The day Mallory took her life her parents had a three-hour meeting with the school about the bullying by her classmates. The principal allegedly admitted off the record that Mallory was not safe at school. That right there is a problem. You have administrators knowing the school has a serious safety issue, putting a child’s life at risk and you can’t seem to take appropriate action. Why were the bullies not suspended? Why did it go on for so long without making those kids accountable? The school administrators failed this poor girl and her family. We’ve dealt with similar cases where parents tried to do the right thing. They spoke with the school, they complained over and over and it fell on deaf ears. Emotional and physical injuries took place. There comes a time when you have to take legal action.”
In the aftermath of the Grossmans’ tragedy, an online fundraiser set up by a family friend raised over $78,000 for her family, and a community, known as Mallory’s Army, formed online. Their goal is to allow others to share their experiences with bullying in the Rockaway Township School District, and to reduce bullying in the state. Their mission: “Unite together in the fight against bullying! Don’t just teach kindness…BE KINDNESS”. We couldn’t agree more.
Goldstein and Bashner provides representation for victims of bullying in Long Island and some surrounding areas. We have experience in cases similar to Mallory’s family, including one where our client received a substantial settlement from the Farmingdale School District. The consultation is free. Not every situation is a case, but we are happy to assess the situation for free and offer guidance to parents. We can be reached at 516-222-4000.
Goldstein and Bashner