The parents of a 12-year-old Manhattan girl are suing a New York school district after a math teacher allegedly bullied their daughter so much that she committed suicide.
New York Daily News reports that Stephanie Almonte took her own life last year after reportedly being harassed, tormented, and bullied by her own math teacher, Nina Gribetz, of Washington Heights Expeditionary Learning School. In turn, her father, Ivan Almonte, filed a lawsuit against the school district, seeking damages for his daughter’s death.
Gribetz, a seventh grade teacher, allegedly singled Stephanie Almonte out on numerous occasions during math class. She embarrassed Stephanie in front of classmates by announcing her poor grades and belittling her. Stephanie was diagnosed with depression in 2013, but the lawsuit indicates that Gribetz continued to harass the young girl, even after she was placed in a special education class to help her with her issues.
According to Stephanie’s older brother, Ivan Almonte Jr., 25, the abuse was so severe that the 12-year-old didn’t want to go to school anymore. He blames Gribetz.
“I would put all the blame on that teacher. As a professional, how could you make a student feel that way? As a teacher she should have been helping students, not making them feel lower.”
Stephanie’s parents made numerous request for school officials to step in and stop the harassment, but they claim nothing was ever done to help their daughter. However, even the young girl’s parents didn’t understand just how bad the bullying was until it was too late. Stephanie was found dead, hanging from a bedpost, in 2014.
After her death, students began telling Stephanie’s parents additional details surrounding the abuse and harassment that she had to endure while attending Gribetz’s class, which reportedly included singling her out any chance the teacher could get.
When questioned, Gribetz indicated that she loved Stephanie and that the entire ordeal is painful. Some students sided with Gribetz, stating that they’ve never seen her bully anyone.
This isn’t the first time a student’s life fatally ended due to the actions of a teacher. Last year, 17-year-old Sergei Casper, of Russia, died after a classroom prank went horribly wrong. Inquisitr reports that Casper’s body was wrapped in cling wrap, a see-through wrap typically used to store food.
With his arms and legged bound up, several students brought Casper into a classroom, where he lost his balance and hit his throat on the teacher’s desk, causing fatal wounds. The teacher, whose name is undisclosed, was said to have watched the entire event without intervening.
Being bullied at school has become an epidemic lately, which can unfortunately lead to a catastrophic loss of lives. If you or a loved one are suicidal, contact the Stopbullying.gov hotline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255).