⚫️ An Ocean County community is mourning 14-year-old Adriana Kuch in Bayville

⚫️ Worry over if a school fight was indicative of bullying sparked a school walk-out

⚫️ Suicide is the third leading cause of death for New Jersey youth, 10 to 24

BERKELEY — Some students at Central Regional High School walked out of their classes on Wednesday, as the community has been in turmoil since a 14-year-old freshman took her own life last week. Adriana Kuch died from suicide on Feb. 3, according to family members in tribute on social media. “The entire district is shaken by the loss of such a young child. Our thoughts and prayers go out to the family," Central Regional School district and Seaside Heights Schools Superintendent Triantafillos Parlapanides said in a written statement to New Jersey 101.5. The teen was predeceased by her mother in 2016. She is survived by her father, stepmother, siblings and other loved ones, according to her obituary.

Berkeley, Ocean County (Google Maps, Townsquare Media)
Berkeley, Ocean County (Google Maps, Townsquare Media)

There have been worries amid the mourning, as community members were concerned about a fight that the teen was apparently involved in at the school in the days before she took her own life. Video footage of the in-school altercation had circulated on social media.

Adriana Kuch (Jennifer Ferro via Facebook)
Adriana Kuch (Jennifer Ferro via Facebook)

Following the teen's death, there was online speculation over whether the fight was the result of bullying. Some officials, however, believe the fight was the result of a falling out among girls who knew each other. On Wednesday, the Ocean County Prosecutor's Office confirmed it was aware of the incident but gave no other details as the situation involved juveniles. Michael Kuch told ABC7 Eyewitness News that after his daughter's death, third-degree felony assault charges had been filed against four girls. https://twitter.com/ReporterJim/status/1623328868449898497

Mallory’s Army raises anti-bullying awareness in NJ

New Jersey has become more heightened to the effects of potential bullying, in part through efforts by the mother behind nonprofit, Mallory's Army. Mallory Grossman had been bullied relentlessly before taking her own life at the age of 12 in 2017, according to Dianne Grossman. The heartbroken mother set out to raise awareness and accountability for such harmful situations and her tireless advocacy inspired Mallory's Law. Signed last year by Gov. Phil Murphy, it requires school districts to include in anti-bullying policies the specific consequences for a student harassing, intimidating or bullying a schoolmate. It also requires superintendents to provide the local school board with data on the number of reports that met the statutory definition of bullying.

Suicide is third leading cause of death for New Jersey youth

Mental health awareness and the pervasiveness of youth suicide has also been brought more into focus across the state. Suicide is the third leading cause of death for youth between 10 and 24 in NJ, according to the state Department of Children and Families. New Jersey's peer support and suicide prevention hotline is staffed by mental health professionals and peer support specialists 24 hours a day, seven days a week, providing phone support, assessment and referral. Anyone in crisis and in-need of immediate help can text or dial 988 or call the New Jersey Suicide Prevention Hopeline at 1-855-654-6735. There also is a chat option on the website. Services for Adriana Kuch will be Friday in Ocean County. Erin Vogt is a reporter and anchor for New Jersey 101.5. You can reach her at erin.vogt@townsquaremedia.com Click here to contact an editor about feedback or a correction for this story.

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