By Gregg McQueen
Bullied to the end.
Parents of a Bronx high schooler who committed suicide after enduring bullying and sexual abuse have sued the city’s Department of Education (DOE), alleging that school officials knew about the abuse but failed to intervene.
Mya Vizcarrondo-Rios, a ninth-grader at Harry S. Truman High School, jumped off the roof of her mother’s apartment building on Feb. 28, 2018, after being forced to perform oral sex on two other students in the school’s auditorium, according to a lawsuit filed last week by the girl’s parents.
The 15-year-old had endured a pattern of bullying, body-shaming, and physical assault for five months, according to the lawsuit, which was filed in Bronx Supreme Court. Although Vizcarrondo-Rios reported the bullying to a guidance counselor, the counselor failed to report it to the parents or act to prevent further bullying, causing the “student severe emotional pain and depression,” court documents said.
At a City Hall rally on May 31 organized by advocacy group Girls For Gender Equity (GGE), advocates and lawmakers slammed the DOE for its failure to protect Vizcarrondo-Rios.
“The Department of Education failed her from the bottom up,” remarked City Councilmember Helen Rosenthal, who said the DOE should have done an investigation after the bullying was initially reported. “The guidance counselor did not tell her parents what was going on, and did not give Mya the support she needed,” Rosenthal said. “It’s incredibly disappointing.”
Attorney Katrina Feldcamp of Legal Services NYC, which filed the lawsuit on behalf of the family, said Vizcarrondo-Rios was treated with “shocking indifference” by school officials.
Read more: Justice for Mya | Bronx Free Press