Four students have been charged with an alleged attack on a 14-year-old classmate who died by suicide days later, authorities say.
Adriana Kuch was found dead on February 3 at her home in Bayville, New Jersey, two days after she was allegedly beaten by a group of students at Central Regional High School in Berkeley Township.
Adriana’s father Michael Kuch wrote in Facebook posts and in interviews that video of the attack was posted online to “make fun of her”.
On Friday, Ocean County Prosecutor Bradley D. Billhimer announced criminal charges had been filed against four female students at the school.
One was charged with aggravated assault, two others with conspiracy to commit aggravated assault, and a fourth with harassment, Mr Billhimer said.
The names of the students have not been released. They were already suspended by the school district.
“Each young person and their guardian were given a copy of their complaint and released pending future court proceedings,” Billhimer added.
Mr. Kuch is furious with the school’s handling of the attack on his daughter.
He told NBC New York that the school did not notify the police, although Adriana was left bloodied and bruised and then blacked out.
Mr Kuch told the network that one of the girls his daughter assaulted had been threatening her online for several years and that he believes the bullying drove his daughter to suicide.
He filed a complaint with the police on the night of the assault and told the police NBC New York that if the school had acted sooner to remove the viral video, his daughter might still be alive.
Now he wants the video to be widely viewed.
“I want the whole world to know what these animals did to my daughter,” Kuch said NBC New York.
In the 30-second clip, Adriana, a college freshman, is walking down a hallway with her boyfriend when a student suddenly starts hitting her in the face with a water bottle.
As she falls to the floor, the student continues to hit her on the head and pull her hair. Cheers are heard from other students.
After about 30 seconds, two school employees intervene. She was treated by the school nurse for the injuries.
Area Inspector Triantafillos Parlapanides said in a statement NJ. com a decision not to take the assault to the police was in line with school policy.
“The whole neighborhood is shocked by the loss of such a young child. Our thoughts and prayers go out to the family,” Parlapanides said in a statement to the news site.
Mr Kuch later accused the school of lying to him about the seriousness of the attack.
On Wednesday, more than 200 students staged a school strike to protest the handling of bullying allegations. News 12 New Jersey reported.
According to a report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, youth who report bullying behavior and being bullied themselves are at greater risk of suicide.
It added that suicide-related behaviors are “complicated” and are not usually the result of a single source of trauma or stress.
If you experience feelings of fear and isolation, or are struggling to cope, The Samaritans offers support; you can talk to someone for free on the phone, in confidence, on 116 123 (UK and ROI), email email@example.com visit the Samaritans website for more information on your nearest branch.
If you live in the US and you or someone you know is currently in need of mental health care, call the National Suicide Prevention Helpline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255). The Helpline is a free, confidential crisis hotline that is available to everyone 24 hours a day, seven days a week. If you are in another country, you can go to www.befrienders.org to find a helpline near you.