New Jersey Superintendent Resigns Following Suicide of Teenage Student

NTD Newsroom
By NTD Newsroom
February 15, 2023US News
New Jersey Superintendent Resigns Following Suicide of Teenage Student
Adriana Kuch. (Courtesy of Michael Kuch)

This story may include confronting details. If you or someone you know is having thoughts of suicide, please contact the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline for support at 988.

The superintendent of a New Jersey school district has resigned just days after a video of a young teenager being bullied surfaced online, leading to the girl’s suicide.

Triantafillos Parlapanides resigned following intense backlash over the devastating suicide of 14-year-old Adriana Kuch on Feb. 3.

Kuch was a freshman at Central Regional High School in Berkeley Township. She had been on the receiving end of consistent bullying over a prolonged period of time. A premeditated attack by four of her fellow students resulted in her suicide.

Prior to being charged for the incident, the girls involved in the attack had already been indefinitely suspended.

A day after the memorial service for the teenager, Parlapanides stepped down from his role on Feb. 11. His resignation came after a series of interviews he gave to the Daily Mail, where he alleged Kuch was responsible for disruptive behavior and potential drug use, resulting in action being taken by the school board.

In a statement issued on Feb. 11, the Central Regional School District Board of Education accepted Parlapanides’s resignation, reported the Daily Mail.

“The Central Regional family continues to mourn the loss of one of our children. We are all praying for the family and loved ones and our entire community. The Central Regional School District is evaluating all current and past allegations of bullying,” the statement said.

According to the statement, the school district has informed the Department of Education. An independent assessment of the district’s anti-bullying and safeguarding policies will follow.

Douglas Corbett has been appointed as acting superintendent with immediate effect.

In an interview with the Daily Mail, Parlapanides said that Kuch’s father was having an extramarital affair when Adriana was still in 6th grade. He subsequently married the woman he was having an affair with and moved into her house.

He went on to say that Adriana’s grades declined greatly during 7th and 8th grade. There were suspicions of drug abuse, for which Adriana was offered counseling as well as mental support—both of which her father declined each time.

Parlapanides declined to comment further when prompted about whether his statements were an attempt to deflect from the administration’s response and whether he thought his earlier comments may have been insensitive.

Outside the school on Feb. 10, parents gathered in protest to what they described as “a shocking lack of sensitivity” and action from the “administration who swore to protect” them.

The four students said to have been involved in bullying and tormenting Kuch have now been charged, according to prosecutors.

A video showing multiple students beating Kuch and hitting her with a water bottle as she walked down the school corridor with her boyfriend went viral online.

In the 20-second video, bystanders can be seen laughing as Kuch was attacked, while she cowered on the floor of the school hallway.

According to Ocean County prosecutors, of the four teenagers, one was charged with aggravated assault, two were charged with conspiracy to commit aggravated assault, and one was charged with harassment. All, along with their guardians, were given copies of the complaints. The juveniles were released pending future court appearances, an e-mail by Ocean County Prosecutor Bradley D. Billhimer read.

According to her father, Kuch’s body was discovered by her family on Feb. 3, two days after the incident at Central Regional High School in Bayville.

Her father, Michael Kuch, said Adriana received care from the school nurse after being hit with a 20-ounce water bottle.

“I do know why it happened. It happened because these two haven’t liked each other for a couple years, and she had been threatening my daughter online,” he said.

“I’m livid. I blame the girls and the school and the cops. I want everyone to know what happened to her, I want justice, as much attention, so they can’t ignore it,” he told Fox News Digital.

Following protest action involving a walkout by some students on Feb. 8., then-District Superintendent Parlapanides wrote a letter to parents. He told parents that the protest interfered with the school’s learning process and that any future “rallies” would require prior approval from the administration.

Michael Kuch told that his daughter was advised not to return to school over concerns she would be bullied further over her injured face. He went on to say how the superintendent blamed the father’s “poor choices” and alleged “affair” for his daughter’s suicide, describing the school administration as a “cancer.”

“We can’t stop crying this is the last time I’m ever going to see her. It was not supposed to happen we heard it over and over again your child isn’t supposed to go before you,” Michael Kuch said.

He added that he is receiving legal advice from the family’s attorney regarding further legal proceedings. He also said that lawyers from across the United States have been in discussions with a family lawyer regarding the family’s next legal steps. He also said that attorneys from across the country have been in contact with him, as reported by Daily Mail online.

Kuch pointed at the insensitive actions of Parlapanides, in reference to the former superintendent taking to social media to defend his actions and to attack other people.

“The administration needs to be completely shaken up and by shaken up I mean they need to be removed,” he added.

He accused the school of incompetence and putting profit before people by not dealing with his daughter’s tormentors.

“If my daughter is only worth $23,000 a head to them then because they would lose four students then what is anybody’s kid worth,” he stated.

He went on to say that he thinks the superintendent should be charged with obstruction of justice for instructing the school management to not show him the video of the assault prior to its surfacing on social media.

Adriana, originally from Toledo, Ohio, moved to Bayville seven years ago. She has been described as having been very fond of animals. She often also helped children with special needs, and befriended those who needed friendship the most.

Her mother Brandy has passed away and she is survived by her father Michael and stepmother Sarah, as well as eight siblings.

The CNN Wire contributed to this article.

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