The family of a schoolboy who was relentlessly bullied and then committed suicide on the first day of sophomore year has won a $5 million payout from a Connecticut town.
Bartlomiej ‘Bart’ Palosz, 15, shot himself after more than four years of vicious harassment in the Greenwich public school system – despite filing more than 25 bullying reports between 2009 and when he died in August 2013.
Bart was shoved into lockers, kicked, punched, pushed down stairs and pelted with trash by his fellow students in a brutal diatribe that teachers at Western Middle School were “aware of.”
Teachers often had to intervene during the bullying sessions — and court documents showed that “recorded observations reflected multiple incidents in each year of high school, including name-calling, teasing, property theft, and physical assault.”
There were instances where he needed stitches because he had wounds on his head from the intense bullying.
Bartlomiej ‘Bart’ Palosz, 15, was shoved into lockers, kicked, beaten, pushed down stairs and pelted with trash by his fellow students in a diatribe that Western Middle School teachers were “aware of.” He committed suicide in August 2013
Lawyers say administrators and staff within Greenwich public schools “failed repeatedly” to keep Bart safe. His family filed a lawsuit two years after his death – which they are just now settling.
He spent three years at Western Middle School and was bullied before moving to Greenwich High School. The pattern of bullying was reported to his new school by his mentor in November 2012.
Ten years after Bart committed suicide, his family receives $5 million from the city of Greenwich. The defendant tried to have the lawsuit dismissed under the “doctrine of sovereign immunity,” but this was rejected by judges in 2018.
In the months before his death, Bart posted a series of terrifying messages on social media, referring to his desire to commit suicide.
On July 9, 2013, a month before his passing, Bart wrote: ‘I find that if I sound sad I am normal and if I am happy, cheerful and acting “normal” chances are I will try to poison myself, cut, commit suicide or jump in front of a truck :)’
He added, “I’ve come to the conclusion that my ski is too thick to cut, but I’ll keep trying.”
On June 7, 2013, he wrote, “Goodbye forever my good friends, goodbye, I regret nothing. I chose to go on the advice of three people and commit suicide. I wish it were faster.’
A social media friend responded to Bart at the time, writing, “The people’s advice? I’m pretty sure it wasn’t advice, but the fact that they wanted to be d**ks. Don’t kill yourself, get off yourself because of a little bump in the road?’
Bart’s family has now received a $5 million payout, ten years after his death
He spent three years at Western Middle School and was bullied before moving to Greenwich High School. The pattern of bullying was reported to his new school by his mentor in November 2012
On August 16, 2013, just a week before he shot himself, Bart told his friends what song he would like to be buried under. One person responded to the post: “Okay.”
He also wrote about shotguns and asked his online friends how to use them.
Following the settlement of the lawsuit, the Palosz family said in a statement, “Bart was a kind and wonderful boy who should never have had to endure the daily torment he experienced in school.
“We have brought this lawsuit to stand up for Bart and other vulnerable victims of school bullying in Greenwich and elsewhere.
“It is our deepest hope that this lawsuit will change the way the Greenwich school system responds to bullied students so that there are no more unnecessary and tragic deaths.”
Jennifer Goldstein, an attorney representing the Palosz family, said: “This case is important not only because it vindicates Bart’s right to protection from bullying, but also because the Connecticut courts repeatedly rejected the city’s claim that it had immunity and could not be held responsible for not protecting students who are being bullied at school.’
This comes just weeks after a New Jersey schoolgirl named Adriana Kuch, 14, committed suicide after a video went viral of her being kicked and bullied in the hallway of Central Regional High School.
Adriana committed suicide sometime after 10:46 PM on February 2, 2023. The bullies who assaulted her then threatened to go after her boyfriend and bombarded her with harassing messages all day long.
She committed suicide two days after being relentlessly taunted about the social media attack.
For help and support, contact the Suicide and Crisis Lifeline at 988.
Greenwich High School hosted a prayer vigil for Bart Palosz on September 10, 2013
Bart Polasz (far right) gives ‘rabbit ears’ to his sister Beata Polasz (far left) in a photo with their mother Anna Polasz (center)