Connecticut couple sues school and local officials after bullying pushes 15-year-old son to suicide
The parents of a 15-year-old Greenwich, Connecticut boy who committed suicide on the first day of school in 2013 after years of alleged bullying filed a wrongful death lawsuit on Wednesday against the school district and town for contributing to his death.
Anna Izabela Palosz and Franciszek Palosz maintain school staff failed to enforce mandatory anti-bullying policies that would have protected their son, Bartlomiej (Bart) Palosz.
The lawsuit filed in Superior Court in Stamford, Connecticut seeks unspecified damages. It claims the school system was “well-aware of the abuse,” and the bullying was a major factor contributing to his death.
Palosz shot himself after the first day of his sophomore year at Greenwich High School.
Despite “clear knowledge of the bullying Bart was facing, school personnel at both Western Middle School and Greenwich High School did not comply with the mandatory policies adopted by the Board of Education to protect students from ongoing bullying,” the lawsuit said.
“We feel this lawsuit is important so that other students in Greenwich don’t suffer the same kind of treatment that Bart did,” the Palosz family said in a statement released through their lawyer on Wednesday, adding that they hope it brings changes to the school system’s procedures.
The lawsuit cites public statements from both town and board of education officials made after the teen’s suicide who admitted to having knowledge of the bullying, and the school system’s failure to protect him.
Included with the court filings is a record of Bart Palosz in the district’s “sharings” program, which includes information for Greenwich High School staff about incoming ninth-graders.
“The middle school sharings document is a smoking gun,” David Golub, the attorney representing the Paloszes, said in a statement. “It shows that the school system knew, but ignored the school board’s anti-bullying polices.”
School and town officials could not be immediately reached for comment.
“Greenwich Superintendent of Schools William McKersie acknowledged publicly at the time of Bart’s death that there was considerable information about the teen’s bullying dating back to his elementary school years,” the lawsuit stated.
Town of Greenwich Selectman Drew Marzullo was cited in the lawsuit as having said: “We as a community failed this child.”
Watch a report on Bartlomiej Palosz’s suicide, as aired on WVIT-TV, below.