An autopsy by Philadelphia Medical Examiner’s Office revealed that 11-year-old Felicia LoAlbo-Mendelez died from complications arising from a suicide attempt she made after being bullied by classmates at school.
Albo-Mendelez was reportedly found in a bathroom stall by another student on February 6th, at F.W. Holbein School in Mount Holly, New Jersey. There was an immediate response to the discovery of LoAlbo-Mendelez’s unresponsive body. She was rushed to a local hospital before she was transferred to the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia. LoAlbo-Mendelez was declared dead two days later on February 8th.
Elaina LoAlbo, Felicia’s mother, has alleged in anguish that her daughter committed suicide due to the bullying she was suffering at school. She claimed that, in an effort to have the bullying stopped by school officials, she and her daughter had sent multiple emails to the school, correspondence which was allegedly ignored.
“The school administration didn’t listen the first 50 times. Maybe they are ready to hear us now,” LoAlbo said in a Facebook post made on Friday, March 31st. “This bullying needs to stop. There need to be consequences for their actions.”
“This tragic end makes no sense and could have been prevented,” LoAlbo said. “It is now my life’s mission to make sure her legacy lives on and these tragic stories are given a voice. No parent should have to get that call.”
LoAlbo alleged that the school had not done enough to combat bullying before and after her daughter’s death.
This was confirmed by Seth Turner who, at a board of education meeting, said that Felicia LoAlbo-Mendelez was one of his daughter’s best friends. He said his daughter had told him about the bullying LoAlbo-Mendelez was suffering and how he had done nothing.
“I failed to convey this information to the teachers or staff in time for anything to be done,” he said. “I had a moral to act and I failed to act, and unfortunately I don’t believe I am alone in this failure.”
According to Daily Voice, Turner labeled the community’s response to Felicia’s death as pathetic. He went on to remove his daughter from the school because no explanation of LoAlbo-Mendelez’s death was given nor were there any assurances that a similar incident would not happen again.
LoAlbo also pointed a finger at police authorities in the same Facebook post claiming that they were not doing enough.
“We all have stories, we all have voices, now is the time for our voices to be heard. Burlington County Detectives are now set to close Felicia‘s case without completing an investigation and questioning key people or showing me, the mother, any proof of these allegations. Or the closed case report!!! Yet they are making press releases. Just like the school, I feel like they are trying to sweep it under the rug. News and media outlets are now focusing on the overall bullying within the school system. And it’s our turn to be heard!” she wrote.
Felicia LoAlbo-Mendelez’s death is reminiscent of 14-year-old Adriana Olivia Kuch who committed suicide after she was brutally beaten by a group of students, who then circulated video footage of the incident. Kuch’s death also saw school and county officials accused of not doing enough to prevent bullying and its consequences.
According to data collected by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in 2019, 16.4% of New Jersey students suffered bullying on school property while 13.8% experienced cyberbullying.