Cyberbullying victim Starts SophomoreYear, Kills Self.

Greenwich Hi '13 WikiCmns

Greenwich High ’13 WikiCmns

Excerpts from an August 30, 2013 New York Times article:

“Boys picked on Bart Palosz almost from the moment his family moved to [upscale Greenwich, Connecticut] seven years ago. They taunted him for his accent — he was born in Poland — pushed him into bushes or down stairs and smashed his new Droid cellphone, his sister [Beata Palosz,18] said.

His death has left the community — which has 9,000 students in its school district — asking whether it did enough to address the bullying or to provide support for Bart, who had posted his suicidal thoughts, and details of a possible earlier attempt, on social media.

[His sister,] described a pattern of bullying that escalated as her brother got older. In the past, she had tried to look out for him at school. This fall, she was starting her first year of college and he was alone: a tall, slightly overweight boy who did not fight back against his tormentors and who had assured his family that things had improved.

[Palosz said of her family:]“We asked for help over and over,” she said. “The school said they would do something but they never did.”

William S. McKersie, the superintendent of Greenwich’s public schools, said on Thursday that school officials were aware of the bullying Bart had endured, but declined to comment on specific incidents or school responses because the district was still reviewing its files.

Connecticut law requires schools to have a “safe-school climate specialist to investigate or supervise the investigation of all reports of bullying,” and to notify the police if the school “believes that any acts of bullying constitute criminal conduct.”

In recent decades, 49 states and the District of Columbia have passed anti-bullying laws — all but Montana. But studies of their effectiveness have produced mixed results, especially at the high school level.

At a funeral service for Bart at the Holy Name of Jesus Church in Stamford, Conn., on Friday, neighbors, classmates, fellow Boy Scouts and school officials mourned the young man. Football players arrived in uniform. Nearly every pew was filled, with people standing in the back.

Experts caution that suicide is a complex act, committed for reasons known only to those who commit it.

After the funeral, the family planned to take the body to Poland for burial.

*Kristin Hussey reported from Greenwich, John Leland from New York, and

Peter Applebome contributed as well.

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