Greenwich High Student Commits Suicide After First Day of School

Bullying might have been a factor, one official told a local news organization.

A 15-year-old Greenwich High School sophomore committed suicide hours after classes started for the new school year on Tuesday and his older sister said bullying on Facebook might have been a factor.

Bartlomiej "Bart" Palosz died on Tuesday night from a self-inflicted gunshot wound, according to police, who are investigating what they called a tragic suicide.

School started on Tuesday morning, according to the Greenwich Public Schools' Web site.

Greenwich First Selectman Peter Tesei told Hearst Connecticut Media Group that residents who knew the student said bullying might have contributed to his decision to take his own life.

When town officials held a news conference at 1 p.m. at town hall to address the student's death. they would not say if bullying played a role in the suicide, but said they are still investigating.

“We stand here in support of the family and the community of friends to work with them to stand with them at this time of horrific tragedy," Tesei said.

"We do not want any of our other children to make that decision and my hats are off to his sister for in a time of pain coming out to say, 'Please, please how can you understand what would lead Bart to make that decision," Supt. Bill McKersie said.

The superintendent met with Bart's sister yesterday and said more needs to be done about monitoring student's social media activity.

"I don’t know if Bart made the decision we are investigating, but as a parent, we are in a new time in terms of social media.Things that are shared that are said, that may not be meant," McKersie said. "Any parent needs to say, 'How do I monitor what my child is doing? And, if I am a young adult in the school and community and I see something online, just don’t let it sit."

"Our deepest sympathies go out to his family, friends and teachers. School crisis teams have been convened at the high school, Western Middle School and New Lebanon School, the schools that he attended," the school said in a statement.

Greenwich police said the preliminary investigation revealed that the family owned the gun, which was stored in a gun locker in the house.

"The incident continues to be investigated by members of the Greenwich Police Detective Division. With respect to both the family and sensitive nature of this type of investigation, no other information will be released at this time," police said in a statement. 

The family is from Poland and students wore red, the color of the Polish flag, and black to school today.

School officials have provided mental health personnel to counsel anyone who is in need and referred other questions to the Greenwich Police Department.

McKersie also said they school district could make changes to the district's social media policy.

"Out of respect for his family no other details will be released from the Greenwich Public Schools," the schools' statement said.
The school statement went on to say: 

"We take seriously the importance of a positive school climate and the safety and well-being of our students and staff. 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. 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."

Police also provided phone numbers for people to call for help, including hotlines and crisis services.

  • Police Department: 911
  • United Way of Connecticut (Crisis Hotline):211
  • Department of Children and Families Careline /Emergency Mobile Psychiatric Services: 1-800-842-2288
  • National Hopeline: 1-800-SUICIDE (784-2433)
  • The National Lifeline: 1-800-273-TALK (8255); TTY number: 1-800-799-4TTY (4889)
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