A 14-year-old New Jersey girl died by suicide last week after she was assaulted by four fellow students who now face criminal charges in the school hallway attack that was caught on video.
The school district superintendent also resigned after a video of the attack against the freshman at Central Regional High School spread on social media in the days before she took her own life.
One juvenile was charged with aggravated assault, two were charged with conspiracy to commit aggravated assault and one was charged with harassment, said Ocean County Prosecutor Bradley D. Billhimer.
Adriana O. Kuch and her boyfriend were attacked on Feb. 1 between classes at Central Regional High School in Bayville, an unincorporated community located within Berkeley Township in Ocean County, New Jersey.
One of the assailants can be seen in video footage throwing a liquid at the victims’ faces as another pushes Adriana down. At least two attackers slam the girl into the lockers. Then three assailants surround her. They swing their backpacks as Adriana scrambles on the floor.
The girls shove and drag her. One girl can be seen grabbing Adriana by her hair. Eventually, two adults can be seen stopping the attack.
One girl can be heard saying, “That’s what you get, you stupid a– b—.”
All four defendants and their guardians were given copies of the complaints and they were released pending court appearances, said Billhimer.
Adriana’s family found her body on Feb. 3, two days after the beating, which took place beside school lockers at Central Regional High School in Bayville.
The Central Regional School District announced Superintendent Triantafillos Parlapanides’ resignation Saturday, but did not immediately provide any additional information.
The four girls have been suspended, according to the superintendent, who said school officials notified the police. Their names were not released by law enforcement.
The district said in a statement that it “is evaluating all current and past allegations of bullying.”
Her father, Michael Kuch, said Adriana had been struck with a 20-ounce water bottle. She received care from the school nurse after the attack left her with bruises and wounds.
“I do know why it happened,” said Michael Kuch. “It happened because these two haven’t liked each other for a couple years, and she had been threatening my daughter online.”
Born in Toledo Ohio, Adriana lived several places before the family moved to Bayville seven years ago, because her father was an Army Airborne soldier serving his country.
Adriana was fond of horses and she once rescued a neighbor’s young child from drowning in a swimming pool.
“She adored all animals, she helped children with special needs, she loved jogging with her brothers, and was a true nature lover,” her obituary reads. “Adriana also enjoyed her walks in the woods, skateboarding, riding dune buggies and dirt bikes.”
Adriana’s mother, Brandy, had predeceased her but she is survived by her loving parents, Michael Sr. and Sarah Kuch; also, by her cherished siblings, Ashley Kuch, Brittany Kuch, Brandon Tucker, Michael Kuch Jr. and his wife Jennifer Ferro, Jacob Kuch, Ethan Kuch, Marissa Lynch and Haiden Lynch.
After students at the high school participated in a walkout on Wednesday, Parlapanides wrote in a letter to parents that the protest interfered with “the learning process” and future “rallies” will need prior approval from the administration.
“I spoke with the student protestors in front of the school on Wednesday and offered to sit down and meet with them to discuss their concerns,” said the prosecutor, Billhimer, who was at the high school again on Friday to meet with protest organizers for more than two hours.
Billhimer said he discussed ways to improve the district’s response to school “incidents” during a meeting on Saturday with Parlapanides.
“I also shared some suggestions regarding staff changes as well as programming and services to respond to the needs of the students,” Billhimer wrote.
Adriana was born in Toledo, Ohio, and moved to Bayville seven years ago, according to her obituary. She was described as an animal lover and a girl who helped children with special needs.
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