NJ school district where Adriana Kuch was attacked has ‘culture of violence,’ community members say

NJ school district where Adriana Kuch was attacked has ‘culture of violence,’ community members say

BAYVILLE, NJ— A New Jersey school district where 14-year-olds Adriana Kuch was attacked before she committed suicide a few days later According to community members it has a “culture of violence”.

Its parents, teachers and students Central Regional School District Say administrators have a history of ignoring violence in schools that goes back nearly two decades.

Kuch was found dead in his Bayville home two days after the Feb. 1 attack at Central Regional High School. The assault was recorded, and four students involved in the assault were suspended and charged, officials said.

At least four students told NBC News that administrators fired students when they came forward with claims of bullying.

“There has been a lot of anger and rage. They didn’t do anything,” said sophomore Sarah Gibson, 15. “It’s for everyone, not just Adriana. I, myself, have filed about seven reports of bullying or harassment and nothing has been done.”

Gibson said students can file a report or complaint against bullying by going to their school’s main office, assistant principal’s office or guidance counselor and filling out a sheet of paper detailing the incident.

“And they’ll say, ‘OK give it to me and we’ll take care of it,'” Gibson said. “The trouble hasn’t stopped. It’s just for show.”

The school district and board of education did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

A 14-year-old freshman who attends the high school and has been friends with Cooch since fourth grade said bullying is a “daily occurrence” in the district and has been bullied herself at Central Regional, where she said she tries to lie down so she doesn’t get targeted. is

“A kid tried to fight me because I looked at him. I’m not really involved,” he said.

Administrators, he said, “just say it’s none of your business or they’ve already taken care of it.”

“I’m fed up,” he added. “They should do what they can.”

What happened to Adriana Couch at Central Regional High School was not an isolated incident, students said.

Adriana Cooch. (Courtesy of Michael Couch)

According to her parents, Rachel O’Dea, in January 2022 a girl the same age as Couch was found in a high school hallway.

O’Dea said her daughter received threats online and in person from the girls who attacked her before the incident and told the school’s principal and assistant principal about it in December 2021.

“He showed them the messages. He gave them the information and they did nothing,” O’Dea told NBC News. “Then they went on Christmas break and in January the girls followed through on their promise and jumped him from behind.”

The two girls assaulted O’Dea’s daughter on January 10, 2022, punching her in the head, neck and back. Another girl recorded the assault, which was shared on social media, O’Day said.

“She screamed for help only to be ignored. There are so many situations where you hear kids don’t want to talk about bullying in case of retaliation and here’s my daughter, she was brave enough to reach out to people who are supposed to keep her safe and They failed him,” O’Dea said.

The girls responsible for her daughter’s assault were suspended for 10 days and face no further punishment, O’Dea said. Her daughter, now 15, attends school in another district.

In October 2022, O’Dea filed a lawsuit against the Central Regional School District, the board of education, the high school principal and assistant principal.

“This school has a culture of violence that has been going on for quite some time,” said O’Dee’s attorney, Jonathan Ettman. “When they report threats of violence and the violence continues, the school is clearly not taking it seriously, now it’s taken a young girl’s life.”

Central Regional High School Principal Irene Marosis and Assistant Principal Darryl Hill declined to comment on the case, Kucher’s case, and claimed reports of violence were ignored.

Daniel Keizer, who taught at the high school for more than two decades before leaving in 2007, said the violence he hears about is nothing new.

“There were days where I would break up three fights before homeroom started,” Keizer wrote in a Facebook post published Saturday. “As a teacher there and a parent there who have dealt with severe bullying, we would often plead with the administration to get things under control, and only one of them tried. They were notorious for brushing things under the carpet. So it seemed like they had an upbringing. . Such a climate for many years.”

The attack on Adriana Kuch at Central Regional High School gained national attention after the video was posted online.

On Saturday, just one day after the teenager’s funeral, the school district’s superintendent, Triantaphilos Parlapanides, resignation.

Parlapanides suggested in interviews with news outlets, including Daily letterThat Kuch used drugs and her father refused the district’s offer of help.

Daniel Ledesma, 17, said he was bullied but never reported it to school because he felt nothing would be done about it.

Ledesma, a high school senior, did not know Kuch, but said she was devastated to learn of his suicide.

“When I found out that someone at this school thought about it and worked on it, it made me realize how much the students think about the same thing,” he said.

“If all the oppressed acted on their thinking, there would be no one in Bayville,” he added. “Everyone will leave.”

Melissa Chan reports from Bayville and Myrna Alsharif reports from New York City.

This article was originally published

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