It was June when Dianne and Seth Grossman, along with their 12-year-old daughter Mallory, had what they called an exhaustive meeting at Mallory’s middle school in Rockaway, New Jersey, leading them to decide to take her out of the school.
The Grossmans say they were there to talk with school officials about their repeated complaints that their daughter had been viciously bullied by classmates for months in the classroom, through text messages and social media posts, and they believed the school wasn’t doing enough to stop it.
“They only thing that [school officials] said was, ‘We’re investigating it, we’ll look into it, I know your frustration,’” Dianne Grossman told ABC “Nightline” co-anchor Dan Harris. “And Mallory left there feeling so depleted. She just said, ‘You just made it worse.’ She’s like, ‘You don’t know these girls. You just made it worse.’”
“She was exhausted,” Dianne Grossman added. “I don’t think she felt safe. I think she was really sad.”
Four hours later, the Grossmans said, their daughter took her own life.
“I don’t think you can fathom what it’s like to see your perfectly healthy child gone,” Dianne said.
Now the Grossmans are demanding accountability. On Tuesday, they announced plans to sue the Rockaway Township school district, alleging that it failed to prevent the harassment, and possibly the parents of some of the kids they say bullied Mallory.
“Someone needs to be held accountable,” Seth Grossman said. “New Jersey has some of the toughest laws on the books in the country in terms of harassment and bullying.”
“And what good are the laws if no one follows through with them,” his wife added. “I wasn’t with her eight hours a day. I wasn’t. They were. I was sending them messages saying, ‘These girls are torturing her at school, she’s uncomfortable, she doesn’t feel safe, and they were like, ‘We’ll look into it.’”
Mallory’s mother said the sixth grader loved gymnastics, cheerleading and going camping with her family.
“Mallory to me is the all-American child,” Dianne Grossman said. “She’s just the all-American little girl.”
But during the school year, the Grossmans said they began to realize Mallory was having problems at Copeland Middle School.
“We just chalked it up to the usual, just girls teasing kind of thing,” Seth said. “Then it escalated and got a little more out of hand.”
“She kind of had a target on her…