Sister Says Bullying Led to Brother’s Suicide

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The Palosz family, parents Franciszek and Anna Izabela with their children Beata and Bart Palosz. The photo was taken last week when they brought Beata Palosz to Elizabethtown College in Pa. (Handout photo)
The Palosz family, parents Franciszek and Anna Izabela with their children Beata and Bart Palosz. The photo was taken last week when they brought Beata Palosz to Elizabethtown College in Pa. (Handout photo)
“Bart was quiet. Awkward. His classmates viewed him as a pushover. He made himself an easy target.” Bart Palosz, 15, committed suicide by shotgun after the first day of school on Tuesday in Greenwich, CT. We can’t know what was in his mind, what other factors contributed to his suicide, or if there was an underlying mental illness, but the interview with his sister in the Connecticut News Times story (below) shows how damaged he was from years of bullying. Reporter Brittany Lyte tell us “[his sister] would always sit with her brother in the high school cafeteria because he had no one else to eat lunch with.” How sad is that? Note to the cool kids: Please be nice to the quiet, awkward classmates. You don’t need to become best friends. Just don’t be mean. It’s the easiest thing you’ll do this school year. Your kindness to a kid who has only known loneliness is a gift. God knows how much good it could do. Locally, the first day of school is coming up. The cafeteria can be hell for kids who don’t have a support system of friends. What might have happened to Bart if he was invited to sit at a table, or if a cool kid said a kind word on Tuesday.
Note to bullies: Look up the word karma.

Sister says students tormented brother before suicide
By Brittany Lyte, News Times (CT)
Published Friday, Aug. 30, 2013

Bart Palosz's profile photo from his Google+ page. The Greenwich High School sophomore, widely reported to have been the victim of bullying
Bart Palosz’s profile photo from his Google+ page. The Greenwich High School sophomore, widely reported to have been the victim of bullying
GREENWICH, CONN. — Bart Palosz was excited about his new Android cellphone. About week after he got it, a student in his freshman biology class picked it up and smashed it on the ground. The bully cackled. Bart said nothing. Bart said nothing when a bully pushed him down a staircase at a high school in Greenwich, Conn. one of the most affluent communities in the country. Not a word when classmates shoved him into the thorny bushes every morning on his walk to school. In silence, he endured verbal attacks from peers who picked on him for his uncommonly tall, 6-foot-3-inch stature. His Polish accent. His extra weight. The pimples on his face. When they had almost run out of names and insults, tears would brim in his eyes, inviting a new round of taunts. On the last day of eighth grade, Bart’s forehead was cut by the corner of a locker, sending him to the emergency room for stitches. Students who witnessed the incident said a bully bashed the metal door into Bart’s head on purpose. School administrators said it was an accident and refused to share video recorded by security cameras with the family. Bart Palosz committed suicide Tuesday afternoon, using a family-owned shotgun that had been stored in a gun locker in the home, police said. He was 15.
Bart Palosz and his sister Beata Palosz
Bart Palosz and his sister Beata Palosz
The tales of a decade’s worth of torment and the Greenwich public school district’s failure to address it were told to a reporter Thursday by the victim’s sister, Beata, who last saw her brother alive when he hugged her goodbye after dropping her off at her freshman dorm room six days ago. “To be honest, I think he was a little afraid that he was not going to have me there anymore,” said Beata, who would always sit with her brother in the high school cafeteria because he had no one else to eat lunch with. Bart Palosz and his sister Beata Palosz “We were pretty close, but either way, he never told me much.” What Bart did say on the morning he took his own life was that he didn’t want to go to school. It was the first day of his sophomore year at Greenwich High School, and he complained repeatedly to his mom that he did not want to go. After classes let out, Bart sent a text message to his mom listing the school supplies he needed. Binders. Notebooks. Pens. He also complained of a stomach ache. He said he felt like he was going to throw up. Mom told Bart to let out Teddy, the family’s fluffy papillon dog, and take a nap. When she checked on him in his bedroom that evening, she found him dead. It wasn’t until police directed Beata and her parents to Bart’s page on the social media site Google+ that they learned he had spent the summer grappling with frequent, often violent, suicidal thoughts.
Beata Palosz, 18, of Greenwich, in front of the Game Stop store in Port Chester, N.Y.
Beata Palosz, 18, of Greenwich, in front of the Game Stop store in Port Chester, N.Y.
“We had no idea,” said Beata, who is 18. “He didn’t show us any signs. He was going through that teenage age where everything had to be his way. It had to be his way. But it wasn’t anything that I didn’t go through myself when I was his age. “I would look at his computer sometimes because he left it unlocked sometimes and to check on him I would read his email. He was talking about happy things. It seemed like he had friends to talk to. I didn’t think I needed to look further.” Bart’s Google+ page tells the story of a sad and lonely kid. In between posts about anime characters and hunting for pheasants, he discussed his failed suicide attempts and the ceaseless bullying that precipitated them. “Hey if I were to stab my eye out due to school caused insanity, who would miss me?” he wrote July 3 beside a photo of himself holding the tip of a knife to his pupil. Four days later, Bart posted a goodbye note on the social network. “I have chosen to go with 3 peoples (sic) advice and kill myself,” he wrote, adding that he had just swallowed pills. “I just wish it was faster.”
Mourners during the funeral Mass for Bart Palosz, who committed suicide after attending the first day of classes as a sophomore at Greenwich High school
Mourners during the funeral Mass for Bart Palosz, who committed suicide after attending the first day of classes as a sophomore at Greenwich High school
When other Google+ users in his network assured him his troubles would subside, he replied that he had been bullied at school every day for the last 10 years. “I’m still alive,” he reported the next day, “never trust my mind.” He then agreed with a user’s request that he never attempt to kill himself again. Such thoughts would not have been conceivable to the Palosz family when they immigrated to Connecticut from a town outside Krakow, Poland. They were coming for better opportunity and education. Bart was 4 years old. Anna, a homemaker, and Frank, who owns a carpentry business, settled the family in Stamford. They enrolled Bart in kindergarten and karate classes. After their house was robbed, they relocated to a rental home in the Byram section of Greenwich, where they thought their kids would be safer and better-educated. It did not work out that way. In Greenwich, Bart was ostracized, bullied and belittled by his peers, Beata said. Bart was quiet. Awkward. His classmates viewed him as a pushover. He made himself an easy target. “He was really kindhearted,” Beata said. “I think that’s what kids don’t understand and don’t appreciate. Adults appreciate that. He acted very mature for his age.”
Greenwich High School students during dismissal, Wednesday afternoon, August 28, 2013.
Greenwich High School students during dismissal, Wednesday afternoon, August 28, 2013.
“He didn’t make fun or make jokes about other people. That’s where the bullying started because he was mature enough to let it happen and not say anything. There were several instances where I heard from a friend, `Beata, something happened to Bart!’ and I would have to talk to him and I’d say, `Bart, what happened?’ and he would say `Oh, nothing.’ I couldn’t pull it out of him. I had to find out from people who saw it or heard about it and then I had to talk to whoever did it. I would say, `Do you think it’s okay to do that? Do you really think that’s OK?’ Over the six years Bart was enrolled in the district, there were numerous occasions when Beata or her parents reached out to school administrators for help addressing Bart’s bullies. 628x471 (7)They wrote letters to guidance counselors. Exchanged emails with administrators. Set up meetings with teachers and principals. “We would look for help for him,” Beata said. “I don’t think he ever even had an appointment with the school psychiatrist. It pretty much was, `Say you’re sorry,’ and that’s it. “I honestly do not think the school addressed the bullying. It could have saved him if they did.” Bart’s funeral will be held at 3 p.m. Friday at The Holy Name of Jesus Church in Stamford, but the family is taking Bart’s body to be buried in Poland. Bart was proud of his Polish roots — unlike Beata, he never lost his native country’s accent — and it was one of few places he was happy, Beata said. Friday, August 30, 2013 by:Michael Huber, timesunion.com

Related Articles:
Greenwich police: No charges in teen suicide
A Victim of Bullying-Revenge (Ottawa Massacre OC Transpo1999)

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