Alleged Bullying Drove 12-Year-Old Mallory Grossman To Tragic Suicide | Megyn Kelly TODAY


>>>WELCOME BACK. OCTOBER IS NATIONAL BULLYING PREVENTION AWARENESS MONTH. THIS IS A STORY NO PARENT SHOULD HAVE TO FACE. SHE LOVED GYMNASTICS AND CHEERLEADING AND MADE JEWELRY TO HELP RAISE MONEY FOR CHILDREN WITH CANCER. SHE WAS ALSO A CHILD HERSELF. WHY DID 12-YEAR-OLD MALORIE GROSSMAN TAKE HER OWN LIFE? SHE APPEARED TO BE A TYPICAL, ALL-AMERICAN GIRL. MALORIE GROSSMAN WAS A CHEERLEADER, DESCRIBED AS A QUIET, GOOD STUDENT WHO WAS POPULAR WITHIN A CIRCLE OF FRIENDS. BUT THEN CAME SIXTH GRADE, WHERE HER PARENTS SAY MALORIE WAS RELENTLESSLY BULLIED. HER PARENTS CLAIM THEY PLEADED WITH THEIR DAUGHTER’S NEW JERSEY SCHOOL TO INTERVENE. THEY GOT NOWHERE. FINALLY, AFTER MONTHS OF ALLEGED HARASSMENT, 12-YEAR-OLD MALORIE TOOK HER OWN LIFE. THE DETAILS OF HOW, THE PARENTS HAVE KEPT PRIVATE. THE GROSSMANS NOW WANT ANSWERS. THEY’VE ANNOUNCED A PLAN TO FILE A LAWSUIT AGAINST MALORIE’S SCHOOL. THEY SAY DESPITE NUMEROUS REQUESTS FOR SCHOOL OFFICIALS TO INTERVENE, NOT ENOUGH WAS DONE.>>WE WERE IN CONTACT PROBABLY EVERY MONTH WITH THE SCHOOL, FOLLOWING UP, STAYING ON TOP OF IT. SHE DIDN’T WANT TO GO TO SCHOOL. WE WERE IN THE PROCESS, BEFORE ALL OF THIS HAPPENED, ABOUT TAKING HER OUT OF THE SCHOOL AND PUTTING HER INTO PRIVATE SCHOOL. UNFORTUNATELY, SHE DIDN’T GIVE US THE CHANCE TO DO SO.>>THE PROSECUTOR’S OFFICE IS STILL INVESTIGATING THE CASE, WHILE THE GROSSMANS SEARCH FOR MEANING. THEY’VE CREATED A MEMORIAL FACEBOOK PAGE FILLED WITH REMINDERS OF MALORIE’S LIFE. LIKE HER SNEAKERS THAT STILL SIT WHERE SHE LAST LEFT THEM. THEY FOUNDED A CHARITY TO COMBAT BULLYING. THEY CALL IT MALORIE’S ARMY.>>I WANT TO THANK YOU FOR HELPING US BRING AWARENESS TO AN EPIDEMIC THAT IS STEALING OUR CHILDREN AND THEIR CHILDHOOD.>>THEIR MISSION, TO STOP THIS KIND OF TRAGEDY FROM EVER HAPPENING AGAIN.>>KINDNESS IS JUST AS EASY AS HATE. JUST AS EASY. TEACH YOUR CHILDREN TO BE AWARE OF SOMEONE WHO MIGHT NEED A LITTLE HELPING HAND TODAY.>>WE REACHED OUT TO THE SCHOOL DISTRICT THIS WEEK FOR A COMMENT. THEY DID NOT GET BACK TO US. IN AUGUST, THEY SAID THE ALLEGATION THAT THE ROCK AWAY TOWNSHIP SCHOOL DISTRICT IGNORED THE GROSSMAN FAMILY AND FAILED TO ADDRESS BULLYING IN GENERAL IS CATEGORICALLY FALSE. THEY ALSO SAY BECAUSE OF THE LAWSUIT AND THE DISTRICT ATTORNEY’S INVESTIGATION, THEY CANNOT COMMENT FURTHER. THEY SAY THEY ARE CONFIDENT PEOPLE WILL SEE THINGS DIFFERENTLY WHEN ALL THE FACTS ARE KNOWN. THEY SAY PEOPLE WILL THEN SEE THE DISTRICT’S ACTIONS AS THOUGHTFUL AND PURPOSEFUL. WHEN WE COME You wouldn’t do only half of your daily routine, so why treat your mouth any differently? Complete the job with LISTERINE� Help prevent plaque, early gum disease, bad breath and kill up to 99.9% of germs. LISTERINE� Bring out the Bold* It’s OK that everybody ignores me when I drive. 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IT IS AN ODD QUESTION, BUT HOW ARE YOU HOLDING UP?>>GOOD MOMENTS AND BAD MOMENTS. I DON’T THINK WE’RE AT THE STAGE WHERE WE HAVE GOOD DAYS AND BAD DAYS YET. WE’RE STILL HAVING GOOD MOMENTS AND BAD MOMENTS.>>IT JUST HAPPENED IN JUNE, THIS PAST JUNE.>>YEAH.>>WHAT — CAN YOU DESCRIBE THE ALLEGED BULLYING FOR US? IN WHAT FORM DID IT TAKE?>>I THINK IT WAS HUMILIATION, INTIMIDATI INTIMIDATION, WAS THE FIRST PHASE OF IT. A LOT OF EXCLUSION, YOU KNOW, YOU CAN’T SIT WITH US. I THINK MALLORY WANTED TO BE A PART OF THAT CROWD, THAT GROUP. IT WAS REALLY — THEY WOULD JUST DO THINGS TO EMBARRASS HER.>>SO SHE HAD FRIENDS BUT IT WAS A DIFFERENT GROUP THAT WAS TARGETING HER, PER SE.>>YEAH.>>WHAT ABOUT — I READ THAT YOU ALSO SAY THAT THERE WERE TEXTS AND E-MAILS, INCLUDING ONES THAT ACTUALLY MAY HAVE ENCOURAGED SUICIDE, IS THAT TRUE?>>IT IS TRUE.>>CAN YOU TELL US ABOUT THAT? HOW DO YOU KNOW ABOUT THAT?>>WELL, MALLORY WASN’T ON THE SOCIAL MEDIA SNAPCHAT. SHE HAD AN INSTAGRAM PAGE, BUT WE TOLD HER, YOU’RE ALLOWED TO HAVE SOCIAL MEDIA BUT IT HAS TO BE USED FOR GOOD USE. SHE’D SELL HER LITTLE HAND SCRUBS FOR CAMP GOOD DAYS. BUT THE GIRLS WOULD WRITE NASTY THINGS, TAKE HER PICTURE INAPPROPRIATELY AND SCREENSHOT IT AND THEN SEND IT TO HER. SO THEY WOULD SNAPCHAT IT OUT TO THEIR FRIENDS AND THEN SCREENSHOT IT AND SEND IT TO HER.>>SO YOU DID GET ACTIVE. I MEAN, YOU TRIED TO GO TO THE SCHOOL.>>YEAH.>>YOU SAID REPEATEDLY, SETH, RIGHT?>>YES.>>WHAT RESPONSE DID YOU GET TO THEM?>>USUALLY, WE’RE INVESTIGATING IT. NOT A LOT CAME OUT OF IT. THEY SEEMED TO SWEEP IT UNDER THE RUG. DIDN’T SEEM TO TAKE IT SERIOUSLY. THIS WENT ON FOR MANY MONTHS.>>I KNOW YOU SAY AT ONE POINT, THE SCHOOL TRIED TO GET THE ALLEGED BULLIES IN WITH MALLORY.>>MM-HMM.>>WHAT DID THEY TELL MALLORY TO DO WITH THE GIRLS? WHAT WAS THE INSTRUCTION IN THAT MEETING?>>TO HUG IT OUT.>>YEAH.>>TO HUG IT OUT. AND I — IT WAS REALLY BAD BECAUSE MALLORY WAS BEING FORCED TO — AND THEY CALLED HER A TATTLE TALE. IT MADE IT WORSE. AFTER THAT MEETING, MALLORY WENT INTO THE BATHROOM TO WASH UP HER FACE AND CLEAN HERSELF UP, AND THE GIRL FOLLOWED BEHIND HER AND SAID, IF YOU DO THAT AGAIN, WE’RE GOING TO GET YOU. IT JUST MADE IT WORSE.>>DID YOU EVER TRY TO REACH OUT — I MEAN, I WOULDN’T KNOW WHAT TO DO, YOU KNOW. I FEEL LIKE I MIGHT TRY TO REACH OUT TO ANOTHER MOM, TO ONE OF THE MOMS, TO SAY, LIKE, PLEASE HELP ME STOP THIS, RIGHT?>>RIGHT.>>DID YOU EVER TRY THAT?>>THERE WAS ANOTHER GIRL IN MALLORY’S CLASS THAT SHE WAS FRIENDS WITH THAT EXPERIENCED THE SAME HUMILIATION AND EXCLUSION. I REACHED OUT TO THAT MOM. SHE SAID, JUST REACH OUT TO THE SCHOOL. THEY’LL — THIS IS WHAT YOU DO. IT TURNS OUT SHE’S ACTUALLY AN ATTORNEY. SO I TOOK HER ADVICE, YOU KNOW. YOU FOLLOW THE SCHOOL’S PROTOCOL. THEY’RE THE AUTHORITIES. THEY’RE THE ONES THAT SPECIALIZE IN THIS. YOU RELY ON THEM TELLING YOU, THIS IS WHAT YOU’RE SUPPOSED TO DO. THAT’S WHAT I DID. I DID EXACTLY –>>YOU KNOW, SETH, THE SCHOOL SAYS THESE ALLEGATIONS THAT THEY DIDN’T DO ENOUGH OR MORE, THAT THEY’RE COMPLETELY FALSE. DO YOU HAVE ANY RESPONSE TO THAT?>>WELL, THEY DIDN’T DO WHAT THEY WERE SUPPOSED TO DO. THERE WAS NO ENFORCEMENT OF THE LAWS, WHICH NEW JERSEY HAS SOME OF THE STRICKEST IN THE BOOKS.>>BULLYING AND NEW JERSEY TRIES TO CRACK DOWN ON IT.>>THERE ARE DOZENS OF PAGES. DOESN’T MEAN A LOT TO ME, I’M NOT A LAWYER, BUT THERE’S APPARENTLY LOOPHOLES. THEY DID NOTHING TO ENFORCE IT. THERE WERE NO CONSEQUENCES.>>IT WENT ON AND ON THROUGHOUT THE COURSE OF THE WHOLE YEAR?>>YEAH.>>SO WITH RESPECT, IF YOU CAN TAKE US BACK TO THE DAY, THE DAY THAT IT HAPPENED, I KNOW THERE WAS A BIG MEETING WITH THE SCHOOL, INVOLVING MALLORY. WAS SHE THERE, TOO?>>YES.>>WHAT HAPPENED AT THE MEETING?>>SO WE KIND OF SPELLED IT OUT FOR THEM. WE TOLD THEM, LIKE, THIS IS — WE KIND OF SAID, NOW YOU HAVE TO DO SOMETHING. WE FOLLOWED YOUR RULES. I HAD SAID TO THEM THAT I WAS CONTEMPLATING TAKING MALLORY OUT OF SCHOOL AND PUTTING HER IN PRIVATE SCHOOL, BECAUSE SHE JUST DIDN’T FEEL SAFE. SHE WAS STARTING TO HAVE SYMPTOMS IN THE SPRING. HER GRADES HAD DROPPED. THAT DAY WAS REALLY ABOUT US SAYING, ENOUGH IS ENOUGH. IT WAS REALLY, WE WANTED TO SEE THEM FACE-TO-FACE AND SAY THAT WE’VE HAD ENOUGH.>>LOOKING BACK NOW, DO YOU SEE A POTENTIAL TRIGGER IN ANYTHING THAT HAPPENED THAT DAY?>>I THINK SHE LEFT THE SCHOOL THAT DAY FEELING DEFEATED. LIKE NO ONE HAD HER. NO ONE PROTECTED HER.>>SHE SAID, YOU MADE IT WORSE.>>YEAH, MADE IT WORSE.>>THAT WAS HER MINDSET, YOU MADE IT WORSE.>>WERE THERE SIGNS SHE WAS BECOMING SUICIDAL?>>NOTHING.>>AS A MATTER OF FACT, THERE WAS A PICTURE HERE SOMEWHERE OF HER ON A DUCK. THAT WAS THE WEEKEND BEFORE. SO, NO. THAT’S WHAT’S THE SCARIEST, I THINK, FOR US, IS THAT THERE WERE NO SIGNS. DID SHE TALK ABOUT IT BECAUSE OF THE MOVIE “13 REASONS WHY,” YES, BUT SHE WAS MAD BECAUSE I WOULDN’T LET HER WATCH THE SERIES. I THOUGHT SHE WAS TOO YOUNG. WE TALKED ABOUT IT. BUT THERE WAS NOTHING — IT WASN’T LIKE SHE HAD LOSS OF APPETITE, ANY OF THE TOP TEN SIGNS THEY SAY, OH, THESE ARE — NONE OF THEM.>>DID YOU — WHAT DO YOU WANT TO SEE HAPPEN TO THE GIRLS WHO YOU SAY WERE BULLYING HER?>>I THINK, NUMBER ONE, THEY NEED TO BE HELD ACCOUNTABLE AND UNDERSTAND THE MAGNITUDE OF WHAT IT IS THAT THEY DID. I THINK THAT’S THE NUMBER ONE. I THINK THAT WE NEED TO SET AN EXAMPLE. I THINK, YOU KNOW, THE SOLUTION TO BE, WELL, YOU SHOULD LET THINGS ROLL OFF YOUR BACK, IT IS CRYSTAL CLEAR THAT’S NOT A SOLUTION. AND I THINK THAT THOSE GIRLS SHOULD SPEND THE REST OF THEIR LIFE IN COMMUNITY SERVICE, TO REALLY UNDERSTAND, AND THEY SHOULD DEDICATE THEIR LIFE LIKE WE’VE DONE.>>BRUCE, THE D.A. IS INVESTIGATING THIS. WHAT DOES THAT MEAN? WHERE COULD THAT GO? THERE THERE ARE TWO PARALLEL ROADS HERE. WE HAVE THE CIVIL CASE WHICH WE’RE LITIGATING AND THE CRIMINAL END. THE CRIMINAL END WILL TAKE A YEAR BEFORE THEY MAKE A DECISION. THE REALITY HERE IS THE SCHOOL HAS A LEGAL OBLIGATION TO PROTECT THEIR STUDENTS, AND THEY DIDN’T DO IT. IT IS A VERY SIMPLE CASE.>>WE SAW A CASE NOT LONG AGO WHERE A 17-YEAR-OLD WHO HAD ENCOURAGED HER BOYFRIEND TO KILL HIMSELF WAS CONVICTED. NOW, THAT WAS A PARTICULAR STATE WITH VERY TOUGH LAWS ON THIS ISSUE. BUT DO YOU SEE THAT HAPPENING HERE? IS THAT A POSSIBILITY WITH THE D.A. INVESTIGATING?>>YOU KNOW, WE DON’T KNOW WHAT THE CRIMINAL AUTHORITIES ARE GOING TO DO HERE. AGAIN, THESE ARE CHILDREN. IT IS A WHOLE DIFFERENT STANDARD.>>YOUNG CHILDREN. THEY’RE 12 YEARS OLD, TOO.>>EXACTLY. WE DON’T REALLY KNOW, BUT THAT’S REALLY A SEPARATE ISSUE. THE REAL ISSUE FOR US IS THIS IS A WAKEUP CALL. THERE IS AN EPIDEMIC AROUND THE COUNTRY. WE’VE HAD RESPONSES FROM VIRTUALLY EVERY STATE. THIS IS GOING ON EVERY SINGLE DAY. THIS LITTLE DEVICE CAN BE A LETHAL WEAPON IN THE WRONG HANDS. IT’S GOT TO STOP. SCHOOL ADMINISTRATORS HAVE TO DO SOMETHING ABOUT IT AND THEY’RE NOT. HOPEFULLY THIS CASE WILL SHED LIGHT ON A PROBLEM AND CHANGE IT.>>AGAIN, I DO WANT TO SAY IN FAIRNESS OF THE SCHOOL, THEY DENY THIS. THEY SAY WHEN THE FACTS COME OUT, WE WILL SEE THEY DID EVERYTHING WITHIN REASON. THEY’RE THEIR POSITION. THEY FEEL THEY CAN’T COMMENT WITH PENDING LITIGATION. BUT WE HAVE TO TALK ABOUT BULLYING AND THE DEVASTATING CONSEQUENCES IT CAN HAVE. I MEAN, I SAID TO YOU, I WOULDN’T KNOW HOW TO HANDLE IT. EVEN THOUGH I WAS THE VICTIM OF BULLYING, I THINK MOST PEOPLE HAVE EXPERIENCED IN SOME FORM, HOW DO YOU HANDLE IT? WHAT IS THE RIGHT THING? IF YOU GO TO THE SCHOOL AND DON’T GET THE RESULTS, WHAT DO YOU DO? WHEN WE COME BACK, WE’LL GET SOME EXPERT ADVICE ON HOW BEST TO HANDLE BULLYING IN SCHOOL,