Bronx Teen Died By Suicide Hours After Being Bullied And Sexually Assaulted
A Bronx high schooler was reportedly bullied into performing sex acts on two boys at school, later that same day she jumped off of a roof and died. Her parents are now suing the city and Department of Education.
According to a lawsuit filed in the Bronx Supreme Court, Mya Vizcarrondo-Rios, 16, was bullied at school for several months before she was sexually assaulted on the day of her death. In the suit, her parents alleged school administrators at Harry S. Truman High School repeatedly ignored the ninth-grader’s complaints and never informed them about the harassment, reported the New York Daily News.
On Feb. 28, 2018, police found Mya’s body on the ground outside of the 34-floor apartment building where she lived. Her father, Heriberto Rios, was home when she jumped, but assumed she was still at school.
Rios later learned in the moments before her death that Mya was sexually assaulted. According to reports the assault took place while she and other students were left unsupervised in the auditorium for a performance. Mya was forced to perform oral sex on two boys and afterward, she was teased by other students, the lawsuit states.
The lawsuit also alleges when Mya told a guidance counselor and the school’s principal, Keri Alfano, about the bullying, they sent her back to class without notifying her parents about the reports.
When she was bullied, Mya started missing class out of fear, but told her parents that she was having trouble in a few classes.
“I asked what was going on,” Rios told the Daily News. “She said she was having trouble, but she didn’t tell me she was being bullied. She didn’t tell me about this. I found out after she passed. The school never told me about the cutting [classes].”
Rios found this difficult to believe since Mya previously had perfect attendance.
“She was an honor roll student,” Rios told the Daily News. “She had so many plans. She wanted to go to college.”
Shortly after Mya’s death, one of the bully’s named in the lawsuit was transferred, and the guidance counselor named in the suit was fired, the Daily News reports.
Mya’s parents and their attorney believe her death could have been prevented if the school took more measure.
“The tragic circumstances surrounding my client’s death could have been prevented,” John Scola, the family’s lawyer, told the Daily News.
“We hope that this case will cause the Department of Education to reevaluate their policies and properly train their employees on issues related to bullying so that no student feels so hopeless they believe suicide is the answer. We hope that this case will prevent helpless students from taking their own lives in the future.”
Education Department officials told the Daily News the city recently put $8 million into initiatives targeting bullying, including training and online resources.
A GoFundMe for Mya’s funeral services have been started for Mya’s family.
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