Crime and Safety

Adriana Cooch’s death could spark outrage at a student council meeting

Officials from the Central Regional School District in Ocean County, New Jersey are bracing themselves for a howl of outrage at their first school board meeting today after bullied teenage student Adriana Cooch took her own life earlier this month.

The Board will honor the memory of the 14-year-old girl who committed suicide on February 3 after a video of her assault was posted on social media and will appoint an Acting Superintendent to replace Triantafyllos Parlapanidis, who stepped down last week. after a backlash against his attempts to shift the blame for Adriana’s death onto her own family.

Adriana’s tragic story has caused retribution in a district of 1,600 students, with many accusing officials of turning a blind eye to the rampant bullying over the years.

Dozens of students went on strike last Friday to protest the district’s inaction, and former students, parents and faculty have publicly shared similarly cruel and humiliating stories since her death.

“There were days when I stopped three fights before class even started,” recalled Daniel Keizer, a former employee who worked at the high school for two decades, in a recent posting online.

“As a teacher and parent there who faced intense bullying, we often begged the administration to take things under control and only one of them ever tried… They were notorious for sweeping things under the rug.”

Adriana Cooch’s death could spark outrage at a student council meeting
Adriana Kuch committed suicide at the age of 14 after a video of the beating was posted on social media.

CC Lane, a former student, wrote that teachers watched from the locker room doors as she was once bullied and almost attacked by another girl in the school gym in Bayville, about 10 minutes southeast of the Toms River.

“They didn’t bother to help,” Lane said. “I know a lot of people who have been bullied, fought and humiliated, the school has always looked the other way.”

Former student Olivia O’Dea, whose family sued the district after she was assaulted by two students in January 2022, told CBS2 this week that she “experienced physical abuse at the same school when I was a freshman, and humiliation and abuse.”

“It’s a parody [the bullying is] continues,” Olivia’s mother, Rachel O’Dea, told NJ Advance Media following Adriana’s death.

Principal Triantafyllos Parlapanides
School principal Triantafyllos Parlapanides resigned after publicly attempting to shift the blame for Adriana’s suicide onto her family.

Exterior of the Central Regional High School.
Former students, faculty and parents have criticized the district for turning a blind eye to years of bullying.
Stefan Jeremiah for the NY Post

The four girls involved in the attack on Adriana initially got away with it. But they have since been charged with various misdemeanors, including aggravated assault.

The Ocean County Attorney also met with school officials last week to discuss the school’s alleged failure to properly handle Adriana’s beating.

William A. Crice, an attorney representing the Cooch family, did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Screenshot of the recorded attack in the school hallways,
A video of the beating was posted on social media following the incident.

Berkeley Township officials reportedly pledged to enforce a zero-tolerance policy on high school bullying. But Adriana’s father, Michael, said last week that he won’t rest until the entire neighborhood has been overhauled.

“I want this whole administration to go,” he told The Post on Saturday.

Michael Kuch, father of 14-year-old Adriana.
“They think it’s fun to attack people and make videos and post them,” said Adriana’s father, Michael Cooch.

Adriana’s sister-in-law, Jennifer Ferro, added: “We just want the school to start changing and taking responsibility.”

Police said Bayville’s Adriana was found dead at home two days after the Feb. 1 slippery attack.

Video of the attack shows several students hitting the teen with a water bottle as she walked through the corridors of the high school with her boyfriend. The footage also shows her assailants punching and kicking her and pulling her hair while others laughed.

“The hit with the water bottle didn’t hurt Adriana, she was hurt by embarrassment and humiliation, they just kept getting closer to her,” Michael Kuch later said.

Prior to his resignation, Parlapanides said that school officials did not call the police after the attack because school policy did not require it.

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