Mallory Grossman was a beautiful 12-year-old girl from New Jersey with a memorable smile who loved cheerleading and once made jewelry to help children with cancer.
She also was allegedly being bullied on Snapchat and other platforms, according to News 4. The same day her mother complained about the alleged bullying to the school, Mallory died suddenly, according to NBC New York. Her family has now revealed that she died by suicide.
According to The New York Daily News, “Friends of a 12-year-old New Jersey cheerleader who died (in June) believe the young student died by because she was bullied online.” NBC Philadelphia ran a similar account, attributed to Mallory’s friends.
Her family, on August 1, confirmed those accounts and announced they are planning to sue school officials for gross negligence. They are speaking out against what they call the “relentless bullying” that Mallory endured. They say the school should have done more to stop it.
The death of the little girl known as “Mal” is already sparking anti-bullying efforts.
Here’s what you need to know:
1. The Parents Say They Asked School Officials Repeatedly to Stop the Bullying Before Mallory Died by Suicide
Mallory was a 6th grader at Rockaway Township Middle School in Rockaway, New Jersey, when she “died unexpectedly,” reported Patch.
Mallory’s parents have now hired an attorney and say that she died by suicide after being bullied in online messages that called her “a loser,” and said, “why don’t you kill yourself.” An attorney for the parents told NJ.com that the school failed to take action to stop the bullying and that the parents’ concerns were dismissed.
“Mallory’s parents repeatedly asked the principal and others at the Copeland Middle School to stop this bullying and they took no steps to do so,” their attorney, Bruce Nagel, said in a statement.
“This tragedy could have been prevented and this lawsuit should be a wake-up call to every school in every hamlet of our great country that cyber-bullying is going on every day and that the schools must immediately take steps to stop this and protect every student in the school,” Nagel’s statement said.
Patch reported that Mallory was bullied on Snapchat, Instagram and via text messaging by other middle school students.
“Her classmates used this cellphone to drive her into this tragedy. For months, there was text, there was Snapchat, there was Instagram, for months she was told, she’s a loser, she has no friends, and finally, she was even told, ‘why don’t you kill yourself?” Nagel said, according to Patch.
Her mother, Dianne Grossman, said that Mallory “represented what they [other students] couldn’t be, and therefore she had a target on her back, it really was about the humiliation and intimidation,” adding that the bullying started in October 2016 and involved “dirty looks, harassment, name calling, exclusion.”
In a press conference, Nagel said that the parents of the other students might be added to the lawsuit, and Grossman alleged she had spoken to one of the parents about the bullying the night before Mallory died by suicide but faced “resistance.”
According to Patch, “The superintendent for Rockaway Township Schools, Greg McGann, announced a student death on Thursday, omitting her name. Police were at Copeland Middle School on Thursday as part of an investigation.” Her name has since been widely reported, however. Mallory died on the evening of Wednesday, June 14.
In the days right after the death, authorities would say little. “Please understand the District is not at liberty to share any details regarding this terrible occurrence,” the superintendent wrote in a letter home to families, according to Patch. However, he did confirm that Mallory’s death was under investigation by authorities, writing, “The death of the student is the subject of an investigation by the appropriate authorities. This is standard protocol, and the District is fully cooperating with the appropriate authorities regarding their investigation.”
News4 said the reports of bullying came from family and friends. “Family and friends told News 4 the young girl’s mother complained to her school about the alleged bullying the very day she died, and posts on Facebook suggest she may have been bullied on Snapchat,” the television station reported.
On June 17, Mallory’s mother, Dianne Grossman, made an anti-bullying graphic her cover photo on Facebook.
The Daily Record reported that Mallory died in her home, and “police have been talking to school officials about the death and whether or not the child had been bullied. A township officials said the girl’s parents had recently had a meeting at the school to talk about problems with another student.”
2. Mallory Made Jewelry to Help Children With Cancer & Was an ‘Old Soul’ Who Loved Flowers
Mallory was remembered as a little girl who was devoted to helping others. There is a heartbreaking photo montage of the beautiful little girl on the obituary website.
According to her obituary, “Mal loved the outdoors and nature. She loved flowers, every color and shape. She was compassionate. She raised money often and would send every penny to her favorite charity, Camp Good Days. This camp provides summer camp experiences for children with cancer and children who have lost someone dear to them with cancer. Selfless. It was her giving spirit and love for all people and things that drove her to move mountains. Another lesson.”
The obituary continued: “Mallory was artsy and talented. She made jewelry (of course she sold it all to benefit Camp Good Days) and was always crafting something. She was creative and very much an entrepreneur. She was gifted and wise beyond her years. Truly, an Old Soul.”
Mallory was one of four children.
“She has an adoring Mom and Dad, Dianne and Seth,” the obituary continued. “She has amazing siblings Carlee, Kristen and Ryan. She looked up to them and loved them. She loved everyone. Mallory has two pups at home, Lola and Rocky. They loved to smooch her up and get snuggled and played with.”
Mallory’s loved ones have created a Facebook page called Mallory’s Army devoted to stopping cyberbullying. It contains heartbreaking messages from loved ones, such as, “It’s 6am, coffee pot just clicked on..I’ve been up for hours… sleep is a luxury, not gifted to our home…I spend my sleepless hours, quietly shifting through cardboard boxes, of memories…. images of a child full of life… and a family full of love…When I tell you the tears are so large, heavy…soaked in salt..Impossible to control…the burn in my chest, and fire in my throat consume my entire body. I hold my breath for moments, to soften the return of the sobbing…It can be impossible to walk..I don’t ask myself questions, I can’t answer…”
3. A Fundraising Effort for Mallory’s Family Has Raised More Than $75,000
The little girl’s death has moved the community, which has rallied behind her family. A GoFundMe page organized to help the family has raised more than $75,000.
“As many of you know, our community has suffered a terrible loss. Many are asking what they can do to help. Bianca and I thought that we and us as a community can help by taking the financial burden of funeral expenses off of the Grossman family. We want to help them give Mallory the beautiful memorial she deserves. With permission from the Grossman family,” the page reads.
Some of those donating money have left messages using the hashtag #stopbullying.
“May we all live a little kinder in your memory sweet Mallory,” wrote one woman, echoing the thoughts of many. Wrote another, “Our hearts are broken about the tragic loss of your daughter. You and your family are in our prayers. She was an extraordinary little girl. Mallory will continue to bring good will to many. Her story will be heard and a shock wave of love will touch many.”
4. Mallory Was Involved in Cheerleading & Was Remembered for her Beautiful Smile
One woman wrote on the GoFundMe page for Mallory, “To Mallory’s Family, friends and Mallory’s team mates at Star Athletics: We are thinking of you all during this most difficult time. We send our deepest sympathy and condolences. #bekind #stopbullying Allison Bopp & Family Part of USA Wildcats All-Star Cheer Connecticut.”
Wrote another, “I’ll always remember Mal’s beautiful smile. She was a joy to coach. Rest in peace, beautiful girl.” Others also recalled the girl’s smile. Wrote one: “Heartbroken over the loss of such an amazing, sweet, beautiful girl. I’m glad I got the chance to know Mal and will always remember her smile. Praying for your family and keeping you in my thoughts through this difficult time. Rest in Peace Mallory.”
Photos show Mallory in cheerleading outfits.
“Mallory was a beautiful girl who’s smile could light up a room!” wrote another woman, who recalled how Mallory and her son had engaged in push-up contests and went on a camping trip.
5. Students at the Middle School Wore Blue to Remember Mallory & Speak Out Against Bullying
Students at the Middle School that Mallory attended have organized against bullying in the wake of her death.
On June 19, students at the school “sported light blue clothing in a call to stop bullying and a tribute to their dead classmate,” according to The New York Daily News.
According to UK Daily Mail, Mallory’s mother, Dianne Grossman, is a “local textile entrepreneur.” Her Facebook page says she owns a business called The Carpet Girl.