Gov. Phil Murphy said on Tuesday that there could be a state-level probe into bullying after the suicide of a 14-year-old New Jersey girl sparked a statewide and national conversation about school cruelty.
The governor refrained from providing information. However, he emphasised that action must be taken when Adriana Olivia Kuch committed suicide on February 3, days after a video of her being assaulted by four classmates circulated around Central Regional High School in Bayville.
When asked at a public forum in Newark if the state would investigate bullying or the Bayville school the girl attended, Phil Murphy responded, “I cannot say definitively, but the answer is yes. We always glance in the mirror after an event of this nature.
“This is a sad, bad, horrific catastrophe,” he added. “The response is that there must be something there. We cannot respond to a situation with nothing.”
The video depicting Adriana’s assault on school grounds was captured by student observers and widely posted on social media, according to Adriana’s father, Michael Kuch. According to footage provided to NJ Advance Media, the event lasts less than a minute.
Murphy’s remarks come after the state Department of Education and the state Department of Children and Families issued a joint statement expressing “great sadness” over the suicide death of another New Jersey teen.
Mallory Grossman, a 12-year-old girl from Rockaway Township who committed suicide as a result of bullying, garnered support for a bill of rights against bullying signed into law by the governor the previous year. The law mandated that schools identify the repercussions of bullying and maintain a log of incidences.
Murphy stated on Tuesday that he believed the law “had a substantial but not uniform impact.”
Saturday, authorities said that four students involved in the attack on Kuch had been charged with a crime. The weekend also witnessed the surprise resignation of district superintendent Triantafillos Parlapanides, who allegedly divulged sensitive information about Adriana’s family and health to a publication via email.
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