(MAINNEWS) – A 14-year-old New Jersey high school student took her own life after video was posted online of a group of girls attacking her — a suicide her father believes was fueled by longtime bullying.
Adriana Kuch, who attended Central Regional High School in Berkeley Township, was found dead at home two days after the sickening Feb. 1 assault, police said.
Alarming video showed several students attacking the teen, hitting her with a water bottle, as she walked with her boyfriend in a school hallway, Patch reported.
In the 20-second clip viewed by the local news outlet, a person is heard yelling: “That’s what you get, you stupid a— b—!”
The assailants are seen punching, kicking and pulling Adriana’s hair, while others laugh and record the vicious assault, according to ABC 7.
“They think it’s fun to attack people and take videos and post them,” Adriana’s devastated dad, Michael Kuch, told the station.
“Getting hit with a water bottle didn’t hurt Adriana, what hurt her was the embarrassment and humiliation, they just kept coming at her,” he said.
“My daughter actually blacks out and they don’t call an ambulance, they take her to the nurse’s office,” Kuch told ABC 7, adding Adriana had “never been in a fight before, she’s 98 pounds, 5-2 and she loves everybody.”
Three girls have been charged with third-degree felony assault and a fourth was charged with disorderly conduct, News 12 New Jersey reported.
Schools Superintendent Triantafillos Parlapanides told the news outlet police were not called after the attack, citing school policy.
“I don’t believe a police report was done. We normally just suspend. If a parent wants to press charges, they can with the police,” he said, adding, “We’re not going to double-whammy a kid where they are suspended and then police charges as well.”
Kuch was outraged at the school’s response, telling NBC New York: “A kid is assaulted with a weapon and their policy is not to call the police or file a report.”
On Facebook, Kuch posted images of the assault.
“These 4 girls planned and executed an attack. If you watch the videos I have, they are laughing while talking about what they are going to do,” he wrote, adding he “had to take my daughter covered in blood to the local police station.”
“If the school contacted the police and filed a report and conducted an investigation, these videos could have been discovered immediately,” he wrote.
“I want the entire world to know what these animals did to my daughter. I will not sleep until their family has to watch them stand in front of a judge and plead guilty,” he added.
Kuch also demanded accountability from the Ocean County school district for harassment and bullying that he says Adriana suffered for a long time.
On Wednesday, more than 200 students at Central Regional High walked out of class in protest of the incident — demanding action over what they described as a pattern of bullying that the district ignores, ABC 7 reported.
“Adriana took her own life because nobody at the school was able to help or care or step in,” sophomore Roman Valez told the station. “I would actually like to teach the people who bully what they’re actually doing and how it affects.”
The district mentioned Adriana’s death in a note on its website and said crisis counselors were available, but students claim they were not made personally aware of that.
“Nobody was supposed to know Adriana killed herself,” student Lance Jones told the outlet, adding that word spread about the tragedy.
Students and parents claim Adriana was not the only victim of bullying. Last April, a student was attacked in the school cafeteria, suffering an injury that left her unable to fight back, her mom previously told Patch.
Others shared similar accounts, claiming they or people they knew had been bullied and the district did nothing about it.
The district posted a letter on its website saying, in part, that “we fully understand that students, staff and the community are hurting for the loss of such a young lady with a bright future.”
It said a moment of silence was held outside before the students’ rally.
“To ensure the health, safety and well-being for all students, there will not be any rallies in the future without prior administration approval otherwise action will be taken in accordance with policy,” it said, adding: “It is time to start the healing process and we want to send our thoughts and prayers to the family.”
An online obituary for Adriana says the native of Toledo, Ohio, “adored all animals, she helped children with special needs, she loved jogging with her brothers and was a true nature lover. Adriana also enjoyed her walks in the woods, skateboarding, riding dune buggies and dirt bikes.”
A wake was set for Friday at the Mastapeter Memorial Home in Bayville. Her funeral will be private.
Parlapanides defended the school’s response to the bullying.
“If a situation warrants it we’ll call (police), but in this case the students were suspended immediately,” he told The Post, adding the students involved face criminal charges.
“We address every incident of bullying, but some of it is on the internet and we aren’t privy to that,” he said. “We’re not the internet police but we don’t put our head in the sand.”
If you are struggling with suicidal thoughts or are experiencing a mental health crisis and live in New York City, you can call 1-888-NYC-WELL for free and confidential crisis counseling. If you live outside the five boroughs, you can dial the 24/7 National Suicide Prevention hotline at 988 or go to SuicidePreventionLifeline.org.
By Yaron Steinbuch