Family of bullied boy, 15, who killed himself win $5 million payout from Connecticut town
The family of a schoolboy who was relentlessly bullied and then killed himself on the first day of sophomore year has won a $5million payout from a Connecticut town.
Bartlomiej ‘Bart’ Palosz, 15, shot himself after more than four years of vicious taunting 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 tirade that teachers at Western Middle School were ‘aware of.’
Teachers would often have to intervene during the bullying sessions – and court filings revealed that ‘observations recorded reflected multiple incidents in every year of middle school, including name-calling, teasing, property theft and physical violence.’
There were instances where he needed stitches because the intense bullying left him with gashes on his head.
Bartlomiej ‘Bart’ Palosz, 15, shoved into lockers, kicked, punched, pushed down stairs and pelted with trash by his fellow students in a tirade which teachers at Western Middle School were ‘aware of.’ He killed himself in August 2013
Lawyers say that administrators and staff within Greenwich public schools ‘repeatedly failed’ to keep Bart safe. His family filed a lawsuit two years after his death – which they are now only just settling.
He spent three years at Western Middle School being bullied, before moving to Greenwich High School. The pattern of bullying was reported to his new school by his counselor in November 2012.
A decade after Bart killed himself, his family will receive $5million from the town of Greenwich. The defendant tried to have the suit dismissed under the ‘doctrine of sovereign immunity’ but this was rejected by judges in 2018.
In the months before his death, Bart took to social media in a series of daunting posts, alluding to his desire to kill himself.
On July 9, 2013, a month before he died, Bart wrote: ‘I notice if I sound sad I’m normal and if I act happy, cheerful and “normal” there is a high chance that I will try to poison myself, cut myself, commit suicide, or jump in front of a truck :)’
He added: ‘I have come to the conclusion my ski is too thick to be cut, but I will keep trying.’
On June 7, 2013, he wrote: ‘Goodbye forever my good friends, goodbye I regret nothing. I have chosen to go with three people’s advice and kill myself. I just wish it was faster.’
One 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 they wanted to be d**ks. Don’t kill yourself, your going to off yourself because of a little bump in the road?’
Bart’s family have now received a $5million payout, a decade after his death
He spent three years at Western Middle School being bullied, before moving to Greenwich High School. The pattern of bullying was reported to his new school by his counselor in November 2012
On August 16, 2013, just a week before he shot himself dead, Bart told his friends which song he would like to get buried to. One person responded to the post: ‘Ok.’
He also wrote about shotguns – asking his online friends how to use it.
Following the lawsuit settlement, 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 at school.
‘We brought this lawsuit to speak up for Bart and for other vulnerable victims of school bullying in Greenwich and elsewhere.
‘It is our deepest hope that this lawsuit will change how the Greenwich school system responds to bullied students so that there will be no more needless 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 be protected from bullying but also because Connecticut courts repeatedly rejected the town’s claim that it had immunity and could not be held liable for failing to protect students who are bullied in school.’
This comes just weeks after a New Jersey schoolgirl Adriana Kuch, 14, killed herself after a video went viral of her being kicked and bullied in the Central Regional High School hallway.
Adriana killed herself sometime after 10.46pm on February 2, 2023. The bullies who’d attacked her were threatening to go after her boyfriend next, and had bombarded her with harassing messages all day.
She killed herself two days after being ruthlessly taunted about the attack on social media.
For help and support, contact the Suicide and Crisis Lifeline on 988.
Greenwich High School hosted a prayer vigil service for Bart Palosz on September 10, 2013
Bart Polasz (far right) giving ‘bunny ears’ to his sister Beata Polasz (far left) in a photo with their mom Anna Polasz (center)