A 15-year-old Connecticut boy committed suicide after the first day of school and authorities are investigating whether bullying may have been a factor.
Greenwich police say Bart Palosz died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound late Tuesday at his family’s home in Byram. First Selectman Peter Tesei said he was told by people who knew the Greenwich High School sophomore that bullying might have contributed to his decision to take his own life.
The circumstances that led to Palosz's suicide are now being probed and detectives plan to interview students. A preliminary investigation into Palosz's death has revealed the shotgun used in the suicide was family-owned and had been stored in a gun locker inside the home, Greenwich Police said.
School crisis teams on Wednesday convened at Greenwich High, Western Middle School and New Lebanon School, three schools where Palosz had attended, the Connecticut Post reports.
"We are looking very carefully at what has happened over the last number of years here," Superintendent of Schools William McKersie said, "so we can make sure that all our students going forward do not have to face the kind of decision that Bart made (Tuesday)."
Kim Eves, a spokeswoman for the public school district, told the newspaper that the school system makes fostering a positive school climate a top priority.
"Any indications that a student is experiencing significant mental health distress is addressed at the school level by personnel trained to recognize and respond to these concerns," she said. "Importantly, if any staff member believes that a student poses a danger to him/herself, or others, parents are notified and the student is immediately referred to outside supports and providers."
Lisa Johnson, whose 13-year-old son, Izzy, was a close friend of Palosz, said Palosz had been bullied since he moved to Greenwich from his native Poland when he was in elementary school.
"He always was kind of awkward in his body and kind of clumsy and how he carried himself," she told the Connecticut Post. "He didn't exude confidence but he was a total sweetheart of a guy. But kids never appreciated that."
Palosz, a former Boy Scout, enjoyed playing video games and volunteered at a local library. He also was an active social media user and his pages told the story of a troubled teen who posted frequent violent, sometime suicidal thoughts.
"Hey if I were to stab my eye out due to school caused insanity, who would miss me?" Palosz reportedly wrote on Google+ on July 3 alongside a photo of himself holding the tip of a knife to his pupil.
Four days later, Palosz posted a goodbye note on the social network.
"I have chosen to go with 3 peoples advice and kill myself," he wrote July 7 after telling his friends on the network that he had swallowed pills. "I just wish it was faster."
In another post, Palosz requested that a certain song be played at his funeral.