A grieving New Jersey mother is speaking out after her 11-year-old daughter, Felicia LoAlbo-Melendez, attempted suicide in a school bathroom on February 6 due to bullying. She was discovered by another student and was immediately rushed to a nearby hospital in Philadelphia, where she was pronounced dead two days later.
Felicia’s death came two weeks after her father, New Jersey Transit Police Detective Alexis Melendez, passed away of pancreatic cancer. It also came just a few days after she notified school officials that she was being bullied – unfortunately, her cries for help were ‘swept under the rug’ and essentially ignored.
“She herself had written numerous emails to the administration detailing the events, yet no one was ever questioned. They have swept under the rug, the bullying that she and so many other kids in that school have encountered and now they’re doing the same with this investigation,” her mother, Elaina LoAlbo said.
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While an investigation was handled by the Burlington County Prosecutor’s Office – which confirmed that she was alone in the bathroom at the time of her death – it hasn’t led to any school officials being held responsible for not doing anything about the bullying and now they’re thinking of closing the case.
Elaina shared one of the emails her daughter sent to school officials, where she wrote about an idea she had. “I was watching TV and thinking about the things in my life that happened to me and I got a great idea. Instead of drama club, it would be a trauma club. I would help and provide as much as I can.”
Her daughter went on to explain that she wasn’t the only one being bullied in the school. “I for one have heard from my friends and others about things that have happened to them and I think this would be a fantastic thing,” Felicia continued in her email – adding all she would need is a room and some chairs.
In a Facebook post, Elaina described how she feels school officials and investigators are sweeping her daughter’s case under the rug without a complete investigation. She wants to make sure her daughter’s voice is heard and that no mother or father is put in a similar situation – something must be done.
“Examples of bullying can include mental anguish, emotional distress, physical harm, and at times even result in death. No matter whether the child bullied committed suicide or were physically harmed by their bully, it MUST stop PERIOD,” she wrote on Facebook – urging others to take action against bullying.
Father of Felica’s Friend Was Aware of the Bullying
Seth Turner, the father of one of Felicia’s friends, spoke at a school board meeting in March – describing Felicia as one of the brightest kids he knew. His daughter notified him that Felicia was being bullied, but now he’s apologizing for not conveying this information to teachers ‘in time for anything to be done.’
“While no response to the death of an 11-year-old girl can ever be truly adequate, our response to this tragedy so far has been pathetic,” Seth said. “Felicia deserves better. She deserves a full investigation, she deserves a full accounting and she deserves truth — and I hope that we can give it to her.”
In an obituary, Felicia LoAlbo-Melendez is described as liking anime, theatre, Halloween, Krav Maga (an Israeli martial art), crafts, and reading. She enjoyed traveling, discovering, and letting her imagination run as wild as can be. She is survived by her mother, two big brothers, and many aunts, uncles, and cousins.
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“She was a compassionate human everyone wishes they could be. Felicia was truly kind and selfless who inspired others with her radiant personality. She was the most loving daughter, sister, granddaughter, niece, cousin, and friend that will be deeply missed,” her obituary reads. May her voice finally be heard!
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