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August 12, 2015
STAMFORD, CT (August 12, 2015) -- The family of Bartlomiej Palosz – the 15-year-old Greenwich boy who committed suicide in 2013 at the beginning of his second year at Greenwich High School after being subjected to years of bullying in the Greenwich school system – announced today that it has brought a lawsuit against the Town of Greenwich and the Town’s Board of Education for failing to comply with the school system’s mandatory anti-bullying policies.
The lawsuit, filed in Superior Court at Stamford, alleges that teachers and counselors at Greenwich High School were advised in writing by Bart’s middle school counselors in a “Middle School Sharings” document that “Bart gets bullied on a regular basis.” The document (attached to the Complaint and to this press release) lists numerous examples of the bullying and cites the need for intervention by school counselors. According to the lawsuit, despite this clear knowledge of the bullying Bart was facing, school system personnel at both Western Middle School and Greenwich High School failed to comply with the mandatory policies adopted by the Board of Education to protect students from ongoing bullying.
David S. Golub of the Stamford law firm of Silver Golub & Teitell LLP, attorneys for the Palosz family, stated: “The Middle School Sharings document is a smoking gun. It shows that the school system knew, but ignored the Board’s binding anti-bullying procedures.
The lawsuit cites public statements from officials of the Town and Board after Bart’s suicide admitting knowledge of the bullying and the school system’s failure to protect Bart. Town Attorney John Wayne Fox is quoted as publicly stating, “It is clear from our investigation
that [Bart] was subjected to acts by students or groups of students directed against him with what
I would define and describe as an intent to ridicule, humiliate or intimidate him. It was also clear
... that the school system was aware of those difficulties Bart was having.” Greenwich Superintendent of Schools William McKersie acknowledged publicly at the time of Bart’s death that there was considerable information about Bart’s troubles dating back to his elementary school years and that “We knew Bart.” And, as Town of Greenwich Selectman Drew Marzullo stated publicly seven months after Bart’s death: “We as a community failed this child.”
The Palosz family issued the following statement in conjunction with the filing of the lawsuit:
We feel this lawsuit is important so that other students in Greenwich don’t suffer the same kind of treatment that Bart did. It is our hope that this lawsuit will result in changes to how the Greenwich school system responds to students in need of help so that there will be no more needless deaths.
We tried very hard to resolve this matter with the Town without the need for a lawsuit, but unfortunately were unable to do so. It’s a shame that the Town, while admitting that it “failed this child,” won’t actually take responsibility for what happened here.
The lawsuit is brought by Bart’s parents, Anna Palosz and Franciszek Palosz, who have been appointed Co-Administrators of Bart’s Estate by the Greenwich Probate Court. The lawsuit is entitled Anna Izabela Palosz and Franciszek Palosz, Co-Administrators of the Estate of Bartlomiej F. Palosz v. Town of Greenwich and Town of Greenwich Board of Education. As is standard pursuant to Connecticut court procedures, the lawsuit does not specify an amount of damages being sought (but simply recites the $15,000 jurisdictional threshold of the Superior Court [“damages in excess of $15,000”]. The Town is required to respond to the lawsuit by September 8, 2015.