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Bullied girl begged middle school for help before taking her own life: lawsuit

New Jersey's Felicia LoAlbo-Melendez, 11, recorded anti-bullying warning before death, sent SOS email to teacher

Felicia LoAlbo-Melendez, 11, was a ‘lifelong advocate’ against bullying, her mom said.

Her mom found this audio recording in which Felicia said, 'Don't be a bully,' after Felicia was allegedly bullied and died of suicide in February. (Credit: Elaina LoAlbo/Facebook)

This story may contain details that are disturbing. If you or someone you know is having thoughts of suicide, please contact the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 988.

The law firm that negotiated the highest settlement in a school bullying-related lawsuit in New Jersey sued another district in the state for failing to protect 11-year-old Felicia LoAlbo-Melendez. 

The girl reached out to teachers for help after she was mocked by other students who called her "gay," "ugly," a "midget" and "furry," before she died by suicide, according to a lawsuit filed last week. 

Racist insults, which Fox News Digital chose not to publish, were allegedly hurled at Felicia — at times in class — according to the lawsuit.

The lawsuit involves seven students, all of whom are minors and identified by initials, who admitted to bullying Felicia "via cell phones" and retaliating after Felicia's mom spoke to one of the student's parents.

Felicia LoAlbo-Melendez

Felicia LoAlbo-Melendez, 11, reportedly died by suicide in her school bathroom in February. (Elaina LoAlbo/Facebook)

The student "retaliated against Felicia by encouraging others to continue the verbal abuse of Felicia," the lawsuit says.

The student's insults were echoed by several classmates, and they allegedly excluded her from activities because Felicia "advocated (for her) position that love was love and that she could love another of the same or different gender," the lawsuit says. 

In one alleged instance, a student poured water on Felicia’s chair when she stepped away from her desk, and Felicia sat in the chair without seeing the puddle. 

A student allegedly yelled out, "Look, who (urinated) in her chair," while other students in the class laughed, according to the lawsuit.

"Despite this being witnessed by other students and the teacher, the teacher never took action to report or discipline the student," the lawsuit says.

Felicia LoAlbo-Melendez and mom

Felicia LoAlbo-Melendez, 11, reportedly died by suicide in her school bathroom in February. (Elaina LoAlbo/Facebook)

In April, Felicia's mom, Elaina LoAlbo, told Fox News Digital her daughter was always an advocate against bullying of any kind and shared ominous cellphone recordings.

"Felicia was a bright student, having skipped a grade. She has been described as ‘a compassionate human everyone wishes they could be’ and as ‘kind and selfless … inspiring others with her radiant personality,’" the lawsuit states.

But the "persistent and systematic abusive actions" that spanned two school years ended in tragedy Feb. 6, when Felicia was found unconscious in a bathroom at F.W. Holbein School in Mount Holly, New Jersey.

After two days of "ongoing seizures" in the hospital, she died "cradled in the arms of her mother," the lawsuit says. 

Felicia LoAlbo-Melendez and dad

Felicia LoAlbo-Melendez, 11, reportedly died by suicide in her school bathroom in February after allegedly being bullied and losing her dad to cancer. (Elaina LoAlbo/Facebook)

"(Felicia's) death came on the heels of multiple emails that Felicia sent to her counselors and school officials, first initiated by Felicia’s parents, regarding ongoing and systemic bullying that Felicia was suffering from at the school," the lawsuit says.

Felicia's mom told Fox News Digital in April, "It's not just my daughter's cries that fell on deaf ears, but this is happening in all the schools."

Cyberbullying in and after school is an epidemic

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) said about one in five high school students reported being bullied on school property, and more than one in six high school students reported being bullied online in the last year. 

Similar statistics showing increased bullying incidents in schools were laid out in the lawsuit. 

In Felicia's school district, the number of bullying incidents nearly doubled from six reported complaints in 2021-2022 to at least 11 during the 2022-2023 school year, according to the lawsuit. 

But those numbers don't tell the whole story, according to the legal action, which suggests the number of incidents is likely higher.

Felicia LoAlbo-Melendez

An email from Felicia LoAlbo-Melendez, 11, to school officials before she was allegedly bullied and died by suicide. (Elaina LoAlbo)

"The (Board of Education's) substandard public record keeping makes it impossible tell which of the bullying incidents were confirmed to be bullying conforming with the state law’s definition," the lawsuit says. 

"The Mount Holly Board of Education minutes reveal a severe under-reporting of bullying incidents."

The school district didn't respond to Fox News Digital's request for comment about the allegations in the lawsuit and the statistics reported in the lawsuit. 

"My daughter has been advocating against bullying since kindergarten, when she was told to color herself with a brown crayon," Elaina said in a previous interview with Fox News Digital.

"My daughter believed she was golden. That mommy was white and daddy was brown. … She started standing up for herself and others since then."

Felicia LoAlbo-Melendez and mom

Felicia LoAlbo-Melendez, 11, reportedly died by suicide in her school bathroom in February ( Elaina LoAlbo/Facebook)

Family's law firm settled highest NJ school bullying suit

Felicia's family is being represented by Nagel Rice LLP, which settled with New Jersey's Rockaway Township School District for $9.1 million over the summer. 

Diane and Seth Grossman sued the school district after their daughter, 12-year-old Mallory Grossman, took her own life in June 2017 after relentless bullying in school and on the internet by classmates. 

That was the largest bullying settlement in state history, lawyer Bruce Nagel said. 

"This settlement should send a strong signal to schools around the country that bullying is an epidemic, and schools have a responsibility to protect our children," Nagel said in a statement after the settlement.

The federal government provides resources for parents, victims and school districts on, which is managed by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

Chris Eberhart is a crime and US news reporter for Fox News Digital. Email tips to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or on Twitter @ChrisEberhart48.

Authored by Chris Eberhart via FoxNews November 6th 2023

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