BERKELEY TOWNSHIP, N.J. (PIX11) – The fallout continues in Berkeley Township, New Jersey, after a high school student who was bullied took her own life. Four students have been charged in this case, but parents say not enough is being done to keep other children safe.
Sophomore Emily Strick is now in therapy after she says she was severely bullied last year, causing her to self-harm. Her family said the administration at Central Regional High School did nothing to help her.
Emily said her classmate would “punch me, kick me, stab me with a sharpened pencil, steal my phone. I told my AP about it. He would tell me I am the drama and brush it off.” Emily’s mom, Jo Strick, said she would miss weeks of school out of fear.
“I had meetings. I wrote letters to the superintendent. I wrote letters to the principal. I wrote letters to the board of education … I heard nothing,” Jo Strick said. “The law says you have to send them to school, but at the same time, you are sending them into a nightmare. As a parent, it’s a horrible feeling. You feel like you are not protecting them, like you are not doing your job.”
A number of students feel the bullying is rampant, but action from school leaders is falling short.
“The school isn’t going to do anything. They haven’t done anything so far. I don’t think they are going to do anything now,” said 14-year-old Madison Anderson.
The superintendent of the school resigned amid the fallout after 14-year-old Adriana Kuch was bullied in school. Adriana died by suicide after her attack was filmed in the hallway and posted all over social media.
Adriana’s family said the school did nothing when they asked for help, and now they are getting ready to take legal action.
The Ocean County Prosecutor’s Office charged four girls in this case. One girl was charged with aggravated assault, two girls were charged with conspiracy to commit aggravated assault and another girl was charged with harassment.
Parents continue to speak out, saying the school has a history of dismissing bullying allegations, and the principal has yet to answer questions.
“What happened to Adriana is proof right there. And unfortunately, that’s what happens when you sweep it under the rug,” said parent John Galifi.
If you or someone you know is considering suicide, contact the U.S. National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 800-273-TALK (8255) . It is a free, 24/7 service that offers support, information, and local resources. You can also click here for additional hotlines within your state.