The family of the 14-year-old girl who was driven to suicide last year over intense bullying at her New Jersey high school claimed in a new lawsuit Monday that district officials did nothing to stop the “culture of violence” leading up to her tragic death.
Central Regional School District officials failed to protect freshman Adriana Kuch from getting beat up, and then failed again when footage of the assault was posted online before her tragic suicide, the lawsuit, brought by her father Michael Kuch, alleges.
And following her death, the now-former school superintendent, Triantafillos Parlapanides, defamed the teen girl’s mourning father when he accused him of having an affair while married to Kuch’s mother, according to the lawsuit, which was filed in state court.
Kuch was viciously assaulted by a pack of teenage girls in a school hallway on Feb. 1. Footage of the incident was then shared on social media, leading to an avalanche of hateful comments that humiliated the teen.
She took her own life two days later inside her bedroom.
“Defendants … knew or should have known that, prior to February 1, 2023, instances of harassment, intimidation, and bullying within the Central Regional School District had created a culture of violence at Central Regional High School,” according to the lawsuit, which named multiple school officials.
Cops were not originally called about the violence because Parlapanides didn’t want the offending students to get in trouble legally after facing possible school discipline, the lawsuit states.
Criminal charges were later leveled from the incident.
“Adriana was the light of our lives, and one year after her horrific and needless death, we are still waiting for justice,” Michael Kuch said in a statement.
“It’s clear this school has a serious bullying problem that none of the school administrators care to admit or address.
“But what’s more troublesome and hurtful are the incredibly rude and insensitive comments from Superintendent Parlapanides when our family was at its lowest point. How someone could make such false and careless remarks when our daughter had just died is beyond me.”
Parlapanides, a defendant in the suit, allegedly made various public statements that were “cruel” and “entirely false” about Kuch and her family.
He claimed to one reporter that Kuch’s “mother killed herself because the father was having an affair when Adriana [sic] was in 6th grade. A year later he married the woman he had an affair with and moved her into the house,” the lawsuit states.
Parlapanides then said the teen started making bad choices and doing drugs, and when the school told her father she needed help, he refused.
But Parlapanides’ claims about the affair and how the family refused to help Kuch when the school offered help were false, the lawsuit states. Remarks about the girl’s possible drug use and mental health issues illegally invaded her privacy, the lawsuit also argues.
Family lawyer William Krais called the former school’s chief’s comments “outrageous” and “insensitive” as well as fabricated. Parlapanides resigned from his position days after Kuch’s death.
“Mr. Kuch is eager for justice for his daughter,” Krais said. “He is eager to get this case started.”
Damages were not specified in the suit.
School leaders told Business Insider the district hasn’t received the lawsuit yet so it can’t yet comment but would be limited in what it can say moving forward.
School officials previously denied a culture of bullying but unveiled a series or policy reviews about the issue last year.
Phone use by students is now heavily restricted for middle and high school students.
If you or someone you know is affected by any of the issues raised in this story, call the Sexual Assault Hotline at 1-800-330-0226.