Two years after 15-year-old Polish immigrant Bart Palosz committed suicide due to bullying in the wealthy town of Greenwich, Connecticut, his family are suing the town for justice. Back in 2013, Palosz shot himself in the head with one of his dad’s shotguns after his first day of his sophomore year at Greenwich High School. According to his family, the bullying that had affected Palosz at Western Middle School in the town, following him through to high school.
Here’s what you need to know:
1. His Parents Want $15,000 From the School District
Palosz’s parents, Anna and Franciszek, believe that the town of Greenwich, more specifically the the school district of failing to deal with the bullying their son was subjected to. The Associated Press reports that they want $15,000 from the district in damages. Palosz committed suicide on August 27, 2013. The lawsuit was filed at the state Superior Court in Stamford, Connecticut. The statute of limitations for legal action from Palosz’s family would have ended on the second anniversary of the teenager’s death. Speaking to Greenwich Time, the family’s attorney, David Golub, said that reports on the bullying Palosz received at middle school didn’t follow the troubled teenager into high school. Golub says that this represents a “smoking gun” in the failure of the school’s administrators to address the problem.
2. Palosz Wrote on Social Media That He Wanted to End His Life Due to the ‘Insanity’ at His High School
On his Google+ page, Palosz wrote extensively about the problems he faced in high school. On July 9, 2013, he wrote “I notice if I sound sad I’m normal and if I act happy, cheerful, and “normal” there is a high chance that I will try to poison myself, cut myself, commit suicide, or jump in front of a truck :)” Just prior to that he wrote “Hey if I were to stab my eye out due to school caused insanity, who would miss me?” Greenwich Time reports that Palosz was subjected to teasing, having his stuff stolen, being punched and kicked. In one particular instance, his new android phone was smashed right in front of him.
3. He Allegedly Made His Classmates Uncomfortable Because He Would Stare at Them
Just a few months after her brother’s death, Beata Palosz told the Connecticut Post that her brother was socially awkward. She said that this was amplified by his thick Polish accent, acne, his weight and his lanky demeanor. In one incident during his time in middle school, a bully slammed his head against the corner of a locker, resulting in an emergency room visit for Bart Palosz. No bully was ever disciplined because of how Bart Palosz was treated. Beata ultimately told the CT Post that her brother had been very good at concealing his feelings from his family, she said “He didn’t show us any signs. He was going through that teenage age where everything had to be his way. It had to be his way. But it wasn’t anything that I didn’t go through myself when I was his age. I would look at his computer sometimes because he left it unlocked sometimes and to check on him I would read his email. He was talking about happy things. It seemed like he had friends to talk to. I didn’t think I needed to look further.”
4. In 2011, Connecticut Brought in Some of the Harshest Anti-Bullying Laws in America
On July 21, 2011, the state of Connecticut passed a strict anti-bullying law aimed at schools. On the Connecticut government website, it bragged that the new law “Speeds school response, expands staff training, makes all school employees mandated reporters of bullying, addresses cyberbullying, and launches statewide school climate assessments.” The law also required each school to have an anti-bullying tsar, known as a “safe school climate specialist.”
5. Greenwich Is Among the Wealthiest Towns in America
The town of Greenwich is regularly seen on the lists of America’s wealthiest towns. While Bart Palosz and his sister, and their parents, were all born in the tiny Polish town of Kalna, surrounded by the Beskid Mountains. A Greenwich Time piece on the family notes that they were winners of the Green Card Lottery in the 1990s. When they got the good news, the family had to borrow money from villagers to pay for a flight to America. Once there, his father continued in his trade as a welder and his mother cared for the children of wealthy families in Greenwich. Eventually, his father started his own carpentry business and the family settled down in one of the wealthiest towns in America to pursue happiness.
If you, or anybody you know, experiences suicidal thoughts, please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline on 1-800-273-8255.
To learn more about how you can join the fight against bullying, log on to StopBullying.gov here.