New Jersey

‘That Girl Should Still Be Alive': Hundreds Condemn NJ School for ‘Culture of Bullying'

Video posted to social media earlier this month showed several students viciously attacking Adriana Kuch as she was walking with her boyfriend in a school hallway. Two days later, she took her own life at her home. News 4 has obtained the footage (below). WARNING: Some may find it disturbing

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What to Know

  • Adriana Kuch was a 14-year-old freshman at Central Regional High School in Bayville, New Jersey. She took her own life on Feb. 3, two days after humiliating footage of an in-school hallway attack by a number of other students was posted on social media
  • The girl's father blasted the school administration over its bullying policy and handling of her case; hundreds have protested the response in the days since she died. The district superintendent resigned, students staged day-long walkouts and now more bullying claims are emerging
  • If you or someone you know needs help, please contact the Suicide and Crisis Lifeline by calling 988, call the National Suicide Prevention hotline at 1-800-273-8255 or reach out to the Crisis Text Line by texting ‘Home’ to 741741 anytime

Emotions boiled over inside a New Jersey high school auditorium Thursday night, as scores of students and parents one-by-one stood at a microphone to address what they call a "culture of bullying" inside the school where a 14-year-old freshman was attacked in a hallway and tormented on social media days before taking her own life.

So many people lined up to speak, the board of education meeting held at Central Regional High School in Bayville extended past 11 p.m. Full of rage — and even fear — during the painfully emotional night, students and parents were able to express themselves directly to district officials for the first time since the death of Adriana Kuch on Feb. 3.

Each one of them mentioned the same thing: Fixing the problem.

"You need to make a change, now. That girl should still be alive, she shouldn’t have had to take her own life," a former student said to applause from the audience.

Video showing a brutal hallway attack on Kuch by other students surfaced online and quickly circulated throughout the school community. Two days later, Adriana died by suicide, her family finding her inside their home.

Kuch's father, who has loudly vocalized his frustrations with how the school handled his daughter's case, says that footage, a mere 50-second clip, drove her to suicide.

"She was on the floor blacked out and you guys didn’t do nothing about it. You guys could’ve prevented that," a friend of Kuch's told the school board. "She made numerous reports about how she was being bullied and you guys sat there and did nothing.”

Another girl cried as she remembered Kuch, calling her "such a sweet girl. She was bullied and harassed and mocked after her death."

Adriana Kuch's death has sparked a domino effect of sorts as the community -- and now much of America -- reels. News 4 has obtained the footage (below). WARNING: Some may find it disturbing.

News 4 obtained the Central Regional High School fight video. WARNING: Some may find this disturbing to watch.

In the first few days after the 14-year-old took her own life, students engaged in a day-long walkout to protest their administration -- and many of their parents were there to support them. Four students allegedly involved in the attack were suspended indefinitely, then criminally charged.

A day ago, more than a dozen bikers added their support to the anti-bullying campaign at Central Regional High School, honking their horns as they passed protestors chanting, "She matters!"

While still mourning their classmate, students on Thursday took the microphone to say the problem is even larger than what happened to Adriana. Story after story from tearful students, some of whom said they also contemplated suicide after being viciously bullied at the high school.

"I’ve been bullied every single day since I’ve been at this school since seventh grade. People in this room even made fun of me and I don’t even know why they’re here," said 16-year-old Milo Lugo.

Others recalled similar scarring experiences, being told by other students that they should kill themselves. Others said they felt scared to even walk in the hallways.

"Honestly I’ve been through that exact same experience, too. I was actually hospitalized because I felt like I was bullied so bad," said former student Kira Reeder.

"You are here to protect the students — but the students do not feel protected," said a student, touching on a common sentiment among her classmates. Another girl said she reported being bullied, but "there was nothing done about it."

Parents called it a culture of violence and bullying that has been going on for decades.

"It shouldn’t take a child taking their own life for us to change," one parent said.

The tales of bullying from students come after a mother claimed her son was beaten so badly four years ago when he was a student there that he suffered brain damage and broken bones. Her son was transferred but still suffers from post-traumatic stress disorder, she says.

She claimed another student and his father were responsible --- and both were arrested afterward. Now the mother of that student -- and the wife of his father -- sits on the school board.

More videos have surfaced of other bullying incidents at the high school. A video from 2022 shows a girl, with her arm in a sling because of a shoulder injury during a wrestling match, getting attacked. That student's mother said she had to send her daughter to an out-of-district school after her attackers were suspended for just 10 days.

In another attack from the same year, the victim also had to be transferred out.

At a news conference Thursday afternoon, the interim superintendent said the district had been following state law in its anti-bullying efforts, and they would do more to prevent it in the future. But he insisted bullying was not the norm.

"Based on our data alone it doesn’t indicate that we’re a culture of violence. We don’t condone that," said interim superintendent Douglas Corbett.

Many at the meeting said they want new leadership in the district, from top to bottom. While the former superintendent has already resigned amid the fallout, parents and students say they want the new interim superintendent to resign as well.

"How am I supposed to be confident in you guys when some of you sitting there are bullies yourself?" said parent Traci Rocco.

Superintendent, Triantafillos Parlapanedis, resigns abruptly after his response to the suicide of 14-year-old Adriana Kuch. Brian Thompson reports.

If you or someone you know needs help, please contact the Suicide and Crisis Lifeline by calling 988, call the National Suicide Prevention hotline at 1-800-273-8255 or reach out to the Crisis Text Line by texting ‘Home’ to 741741 anytime.

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