4 charged over taped beating of teen who later took own life
BAYVILLE, N.J. (AP) — Four students have been charged and a school district superintendent has resigned after a recorded attack against a 14-year-old New Jersey student in the hallway of her school spread on social media in the days before her family says 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, prosecutors in Ocean County, New Jersey, said Saturday.
All four juveniles and their guardians were given copies of the complaints and they were released pending future court appearances, Ocean County Prosecutor Bradley D. Billhimer said in an email Saturday.
The family of Adriana O. Kuch found her body on Feb. 3, two days after her beating beside school lockers at Central Regional High School in Bayville, her father has said.
The Central Regional School District announced Superintendent Triantafillos Parlapanides’ resignation Saturday, but did not immediately provide any additional information.
The district said in a statement that it “is evaluating all current and past allegations of bullying.”
In an interview with WNBC-TV, her father, Michael Kuch, said Adriana had been hit with a 20-ounce (0.56 liter) water bottle. She received care from the school nurse after the attack left her with bruises and wounds.
“I do know why it happened,” he said. “It happened because these two haven’t liked each other for a couple years, and she had been threatening my daughter online.”
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.