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New Jersey school district will pay $9.1 million to settle lawsuit over student suicide

Aug. 1, 2023
The family of Mallory Grossman, 12, sued the Rockaway Township School District in New Jersey, saying she was the victim of repeated bullying.

The Rockaway Township School District in New Jersey will pay $9.1 million to settle a lawsuit brought by the parents of Mallory Grossman, a 12-year-old middle schooler who died by suicide in 2017 following repeated cyberbullying by other students.

The Newark Star Ledger reports that the suicide made headlines nationwide, and led Mallory's parents, Dianne and Seth Grossman, to start the anti-bullying foundation, Mallorys Army.

Their efforts also led New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy to sign a law in 2022 that strengthened the state's anti-bullying statute.

The lawsuit contended that the school failed to protect Mallory by not following anti-bullying statutes, and not acting on the repeated pleas from her parents.

Mallory was a sixth grader at Copeland Middle School when she died on June 14, 2017 following a campaign of torment from classmates via text, Instagram posts and Snapchat messages.

Students called her a "loser," taunted her for not having friends and one bully wrote bluntly, "Why don't you kill yourself." 

The family's lawyer, Bruce Nagel, says the settlement is the largest in a bullying case in New Jersey.

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