Police say no charges will be filed in connection with student suicide

UPDATED FRIDAY 12:20 P.M.—  Greenwich police say they have concluded their investigation into the suicide of 15-year-old Greenwich High School student Bartlomiej (Bart) Palosz and that no criminal charges will be filed.

The Office of the Chief State’s Medical Examiner had earlier ruled the death a suicide, but a police investigation had continued. On Friday, Public Information Officer Lt. Kraig Gray said that there were “no criminal aspects to this case” revealed by the investigation.

“The scope of any police investigation involving an untimely death is to investigate the incident as a criminal case until the facts prove differently,” Lt. Gray said in a department press release. “The determination of a death as a suicide is based on a series of factors that eliminate other potentialities. Often cases the motive is never determined. In this instance, our investigation did not uncover any articulation by Bart as to took this particular action.”

Numerous reports have said that Bart was heavily bullied at both Greenwich High School and Western Middle School. He took his life after the first day of school last month. An investigation by the town, which is being handled by Town Attorney Wayne Fox, is ongoing to look into the charges of bullying and the response of school officials.

“The death of a teenager in such a tragic manner is a serious health issue which the general public, public officials, and professionals in the health and human service community need work together to reduce,” Lt. Gray said.

The police department said that with respect to both the family and the sensitive nature of this type of investigation, no other information will be released at this time.

Greenwich Superintendent of Schools William McKersie released a statement on Friday saying that the district was “cooperating fully” with the town’s review and that the district’s thoughts were with the Palosz family.

“We remain committed to doing whatever we can to prevent something like this from happening in the future,” Dr. McKersie said. He added that “Irrespective of the investigations it is important to come together as a community in support of our youth.”

Dr. McKersie said he had been working with district administrators to review current practices toward establishing a “safe school climate” and responding to what he termed as “inappropriate or risky behavior.” He said he expected this group of administrators to make recommendations to address any gaps in the current practices and that there had already been some changes. Dr. McKersie also noted that GHS had launched a hotline and email address to report student concerns and praised students for “stepping up” to offer peer support and contribute to a “safer and more supportive” environment.

“Parent and community organization efforts continue to highlight the topic and are opening up the dialogue on how we are all responsible for creating a safe and secure environment for the youth throughout our community,” Dr. McKersie said in the district’s press release. “I and other school district representatives are participating in these conversations. All of these efforts are important and will help, but the most important and immediate thing we can do begins with our own actions. We must each model respectful and appropriate behavior toward others. The example we set each and every day will be the most effective means of changing the culture of mistreatment among peers — young and old.”

 

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