A 15-year-old honor student jumped 34 stories to her death last February after being bullied and sexually assaulted by two boys at school. Now, her parents are suing the City of New York and the New York City Department of Education due to “their negligence, carelessness, recklessness, and unlawfulness.”
Mya Vizcarrondo-Rios began attending Harry S. Truman High School in The Bronx, in September 2017 where it’s reported the teen was bullied “almost daily” and as a result, developed “severe emotional pain and depression.”
Prior to the bullying, Mya was an honor student who had perfect attendance. The lawsuit outlines she began missing school in late 2017 because of the bullying, which included harassment, body shaming, physical and verbal abuse.
Mya’s attendance resulted in the school principal and the dean informing her parents she would have to sign into each class. The lawsuit alleges the principal and dean never told the parents what led to Mya absence.
“The tragic circumstances surrounding my client’s death could have been prevented,” said John Scola, the parents’ attorney, in a statement. “We hope that this case will cause the New York City Department of Education to reevaluate their policies and properly train their employees on issues related to bullying so that no student feels so hopeless they believe suicide is the answer.”
On Feb. 27, the lawsuit states Mya’s counselor went to one of her gym classes after Mya’s friend told her about her problems. The counselor then “assessed [Mya] for any signs of physical or verbal abuse,” according to the lawsuit, which says that “[f]ollowing this conversation…the guidance counselor, despite saying she would do so in [Mya’s] guidance review card, again failed to notify [Mya’s parents] that [Mya] was having problems at school so they could look out for any harm [Mya] could cause herself including but in no way limited to acting on suicidal ideations.”
The next morning, after reportedly participating in a school show in the auditorium, Mya was taken into the back of the auditorium by two boys where she was sexually assaulted. Mya then reportedly left school early that day after being made fun of and jumped off the roof of her apartment building.
“If the representation that [Mya] was required to sign in at each class were true, her absence would have triggered a notification of the parents or a search as to [Mya’s] whereabouts and prevented her death,” the lawsuit says.
A Go Fund Me has been set up to pay for Mya’s funeral costs.