In 2017, my friends and colleagues, Dianne and Seth Grossman, lost their 12-year-old daughter, Mallory Grossman, to suicide.
To this day, even saying that makes me shiver.
The Grossman's hearts and lives are shattered.
And unfortunately they are not alone.
Although suicides in New Jersey are lower than the national average, they are up by 9% since 2000 here. And, tragically, suicide in the number three killer of young people between the ages of 10-24, behind unintentional injury and illness.
Not all of these tragedies are due to bullying, online or off.
But enough are.
That's why Seth and Dianne have been working tirelessly to turn their grief into action.
Thanks to their efforts, a bipartisan group of New Jersey lawmakers are working on Mallory's Law which will make America's toughest anti-bullying laws even tougher.
Mallory's Law would require that:
Accounts of bullying be forwarded to the executive county superintendent
The parents of students involved in the incident be notified
Proven acts of bullying would be added to a student's permanent record
Bullies on their third offense would be required to attend anti-bullying training with their parents
Law enforcement would be notified to see if any crimes were committed.
Parents of a proven bully could face civil liability in certain cases when they demonstrate "blatant disregard of supervising their child."
Telling kids to "toughen up," or blaming the parents of the child who took their own life, is just not going to fly anymore. Unfortunately there are plenty of people who do both, which I personally find sickening.
Action needs to be taken. Bullies, and their parents, need to be held accountable. And the rest of the nation needs to get behind similar measures to ensure that no child gets bullied to death ever again.
To learn more about how you can help, please visit Mallory's Army.