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Family of New Jersey girl, 14, bullied to suicide alleges school failed to act

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Family of New Jersey girl, 14, bullied to suicide alleges school failed to act

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This story discusses suicide. If you or someone you know is having thoughts of suicide, please contact the Suicide & Crisis Lifeline at 988 or 1-800-273-TALK (8255).

Jocelyn Walters, a 14-year-old New Jersey tri-athlete and huge fan of The Smashing Pumpkins, died by suicide on Sept. 9, 2022 after enduring months of harassment and bullying from her peers.

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Now, Jocelyn’s parents, Fred and Solangie “Soly” Walters, are suing the Middletown Township School District, the school board and other defendants — including Jocelyn’s teachers and nurses at a local mental health clinic — for allegedly failing to take appropriate action to prevent the 14-year-old from taking her own life.

The lawsuit also lists 10 John and Jane Does “who harassed, intimidated, bullied and/or otherwise abused Jocelyn” as defendants.

“Jocelyn was the student that you wanted. She was the teammate that you wanted. The player that you wanted. She was always there. First one on the field. Last one off,” Fred Walters told Fox News Digital.

SOUTH CAROLINA FAMILY OF BOY, 13, WHO DIED BY SUICIDE SUES SNAPCHAT AFTER SEXTORTION SCHEME

Jocelyn Walters died by suicide on Sept. 9, 2022, at age 14. (Family handout)

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By the time she entered high school in 2021, Jocelyn had dreams of going on to study law at Notre Dame, but those dreams were cut short when she fell victim to intense bullying and harassment by other students, in person and online.

“Jocelyn’s death by suicide took place after an extended and persistent pattern of harassment, intimidation, bullying and abuse directed against her that took place during, and following, the 2021/2022 school year at the High School,” the complaint states. “The repeated pattern of … abuse occurred despite ongoing and repeated complaints of same made by the Plaintiffs, and others, to the Board/District and Board Defendants.”

INDIANA BOY, 10, DIES BY SUICIDE AFTER SCHOOL BULLYING, PARENTS SAY

Jocelyn Walters wearing her soccer uniform

Jocelyn Walters was a star soccer goalie for her travel soccer team in New Jersey. (Family handout)

The lawsuit alleges that one bully in particular, identified only as J.M., tormented Jocelyn by sharing her personal information, making fun of her on private social media webpages, removed Jocelyn from group chats, cropped her face out of photos posted on social media and attempted to isolate her from her friends and boyfriend.

“The High School, the Board/District and the Board Defendants were aware of this conduct and did nothing to protect Jocelyn from harm,” the complaint says.

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NJ SCHOOL DISTRICT TO PAY $9.1M SETTLEMENT TO FAMILY OF BULLIED GIRL, 12, WHO TOOK HER OWN LIFE

Jocelyn Walters playing soccer

Jocelyn Walters was a tri-athlete and star goalie on her travel soccer team. (Family handout)

Fred Walters said he hosted sleepovers with Jocelyn’s bullies, who were once her friends, under his own roof before they allegedly began tormenting his daughter.

“This group of kids actually slept in my house between Christmas and New Year’s,” he explained, “and somewhere in January, from what I understand, there might have been some sort of text exchange … in a group chat, and then this girl just seemed to want to push her out. And what I understood before, and even more so after, was this seemed to be this girl’s M.O.”

CYBERBULLYING ON THE RISE: 12-YEAR-OLD WAS ‘ALL-AMERICAN LITTLE GIRL’ BEFORE SUICIDE

Fred Walters alleged that J.M. made Jocelyn feel comfortable confessing things to her and being vulnerable before she turned on Jocelyn and tried to isolate her from their mutual group of friends.

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Jocelyn Walters poses in front of a butterfly mural

Jocelyn Walters had dreams of studying at Notre Dame and becoming a lawyer. (Family handout)

Jocelyn first tried to take her own life in May 2022, months before her death. She was hospitalized and treated after the initial attempt.

“‘I’m honestly going to try and keep instigating her…’”

— Text from Jocelyn’s alleged bully

“Even while Jocelyn was in the hospital … J.M. posted in a group chat the following day regarding Jocelyn: ‘I wonder if she’s going to do anything back . . . I’m honestly going to try and keep instigating her until she actually does something to me that I can get her in trouble for,’” the complaint alleges.

FAMILY OF BULLIED GIRL WHO KILLED HERSELF SUES SCHOOL DISTRICT, CLAIMS PRINCIPAL ‘HUMILIATED’ HER

The lawsuit further claims that in August 2022, after her hospitalization, Jocelyn was referred to a nurse at a mental health clinic who “negligently doubled Jocelyn’s antidepressant medication without knowing the dosage she was taking” and “failed to notify Jocelyn’s parents of her emergent condition.”

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Jocelyn Walters and her father, Fred Walters

A lawsuit filed by Jocelyn Walter’s parents states that the 14-year-old girl was subjected to relentless bullying that school officials did nothing to stop. (Family handout)

On the day before and the day of her death, Jocelyn also reported to the school nurse, “who failed to take appropriate action given Jocelyn’s history and further failed to alert Jocelyn’s parents of this/these visits,” the complaint alleges.

“Hours later, on September 9, 2022, Jocelyn took her own life,” the lawsuit states. “Immediately thereafter, J.M. texted the following regarding Jocelyn’s death: ‘[s]he died stop making controversy about it.’”

CHICAGO PREP SCHOOL’S ‘NEGLIGENT BEHAVIOR’ TOWARD CYBERBULLYING LED TO STUDENT’S SUICIDE, PARENTS ALLEGE

Jocelyn Walters holds up a Jersey at a soccer stadium

The day before and the day of her death, Jocelyn Walters reported to the school nurse, her family’s lawsuit alleges. (Family handout)

Jocelyn’s family alleges that Jocelyn, her sister, her parents and her friends all reported the bullying that Jocelyn was enduring in and outside school, but their concerns went ignored. School officials allegedly did nothing to punish the students who participated in the harassment that led up to Jocelyn’s suicide.

Following Jocelyn’s death, on Oct. 26, 2022, Middletown High School North sent her parents a letter acknowledging that Jocelyn “may have been a victim of an act of” bullying, and the school launched an investigation into those allegations.

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“[T]he District did not find any evidence that Jocelyn was the target of the investigated act of harassment, intimidation, or bullying.”

— Letter from Middletown High School North to the Walters

“After careful consideration of evidence yielded from the investigation, the District did not find any evidence that Jocelyn was the target of the investigated act of harassment, intimidation, or bullying,” the letter states.

READ THE LETTER:

Walters’ lawyer, Jeffrey Youngman, told Fox News Digital that bullying does not “just go away unless you apply the proper form of discipline.”

“Children react to discipline,” he said. “It’s a personal deterrent, and it’s a broader deterrent. But if you’re not administering … that discipline at all, it’s just going to foster their behavior. And that’s what happened here. Nobody was disciplined.”

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The day Jocelyn died started out like any typical school day. Fred Walters dropped his two daughters off at school that morning and went to work. After school, Jocelyn’s sister went to see a show at a concert venue with her friend, but Walters could not get a hold of Jocelyn despite calling and texting her.

An older photo of Jocelyn Walters.

An older photo of Jocelyn Walters. (Family handout)

He figured she might be taking a nap in her room due to her busy schedule with sports and her job on the local beach boardwalk. She had also been experiencing some fatigue due to her increase in medication. However, when Fred Walters opened her bedroom door that afternoon, he found her deceased.

“I felt that that medication was a very, very big component.”

— Fred Walters

“That is an image that I work very hard to get out and … from the very beginning, I felt that that medication was a very, very big component,” he said.

The lawsuit notes that while the national suicide rate among people ages 10-24 saw no significant change between 2001 and 2007, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recorded a 62% increase in suicide for that age group between 2007 and 2021. Among girls, 30% said they have seriously considered attempting suicide — up 60% from 2011, according to CDC data.

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Jocelyn Walters wearing a Smashing Pumpkins t-shirt

Among girls, 30% said they have seriously considered attempting suicide — up 60% from 2011, according to CDC data. (Family handout)

The complaint also notes that “[t]he use of antidepressants in children and adolescents has increased substantially since 2005, despite the lack of convincing evidence that the benefits outweigh the risks and treatment-emergent suicidality remains a major concern.”

The school board and district said they do not comment on pending litigation. 

The board introduced a cellphone ban in district schools on June 26, citing studies that show an increase in students’ academic performance, a significant decrease in suicidal ideation, fewer harassment and bullying incidents and better socialization when their cellphones are not accessible throughout the day.

An older photo of Jocelyn Walters playing soccer

Jocelyn Walters playing soccer when she was younger. (Family handout)

An attorney for the school district and school board, Eric Harrison, said they “intend to respond to these claims solely through the legal process.”

Fred Walters feels there were failures “every step of the way” that led to Jocelyn’s death.

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“I’m fighting for my daughter, but through this, I just see so many failures.”

— Fred Walters

“These girls start doing what they did and pushing her out and trying to cancel her. And, then you’ve got the adults in the room that are not doing their job or following their really failed policies and politics, and their cover-your-ass paperwork,” he said. “I’m fighting for my daughter, but through this, I just see so many failures … and other parents that are coming to me with their problems that haven’t been addressed because it’s an isolation of the parents.”

Now, Walters is just hoping to keep his daughter’s name and memory alive while he pursues justice. He created a nonprofit called 99 Smiles that aims to normalize the conversation about youth mental-health and expand resources.

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Boston, MA

Boston Celtics (2-2) vs Philadelphia 76ers (3-1) Las Vegas Summer League Game #5 7/21/24

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Boston Celtics (2-2) vs Philadelphia 76ers (3-1)   Las Vegas Summer League Game #5   7/21/24


The Celtics will face their division foe in their 5th game at the Las Vegas Summer League. The 76ers played in the Salt Lake City Summer League, coming away with a 1-2 record there. They have a 3-1 record so far in Las Vegas. These two teams last met in Summer League in 2021 when the Celtics won 100-80. In that year, Romeo Langford played for the Celtics and Jaden Springer played for the 76ers.

As always in Summer League, it’s very hard to predict who will start as coaches try to mix and match players and to experiment with different lineups. After being the Celtics best player against the Heat, Jaden Springer sat out next 3 games. After being the Celtics best player against the Lakers, Neemias Queta did not dress for the next 2 games. In their last game, Davison, Peterson, Queta, Ramsey and Springer all sat out.

The Celtics have fielded similar starting lineups in their first 3 games with Davison, Scheierman, and Walsh starting all 3 games. Springer started against the heat and Peterson started against the Lakers. Queta started the first two games. In their 4th game, they started Scheierman, Walsh, and Watson along with House and Tillie. The 76ers have used the same starting line up of Dowtin, McCain, Council, Edwards and Bona in all 4 of their games so far.

D.J. MacLeay is coaching the Celtics Summer League team. The Celtics hired MacLeay in 2021 as a player enhancement coach on Ime Udoka’s staff. In July 2022 he was promoted to assistant coach. He stayed with the Celtics as an assistant after Udoka left. Assistant coach Matt Brase is coaching the 76ers. He has been an assistant with Philadelphia since 2023 but has been an assistant with for various G League teams since 2008. He was the coach of the 2013 GLeague champions. He is also the head coach of Haiti’s National team.

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Boston Celtics Roster
Tyler Cook
JD Davison
Tristan Enaruna
Ron Harper, Jr
Jaelen House
Drew Peterson
Neemias Queta
Jahmi’us Ramsey
Baylor Scheierman
Jaden Springer
Killian Tillie
Jordan Walsh
Anton Watson

Head Coach
D.J. MacLeay

Starters Last Game
Jaelen House
Baylor Scheierman
Jordan Walsh
Anton Watson
Killian Tillie

Players to Watch

Anton Watson
Once again, we should keep an eye on Anton Watson. Watson was the 54th pick in the draft and should at least get a 2 way contract but has played well enough for the Celtics to sign him to the 15th roster spot. He rarely makes mistakes and is usually in the right place at the right time, especially on defense. He is a good rebounder, plays good defense and hustles. Against the Mavericks he finished with 14 points, 8 rebounds, 2 assists and 2 blocks while shooting 45.5% from the field and 50% from beyond the arc.

Baylor Scheierman
Scheierman was the Celtics 30th pick in this year’s draft. He is known as a shooter but his performance in the first 3 games proves that he is a versatile player with great court vision. He struggled with his shot in a couple of games, but picked up his defense and played hard in other areas. One of the highlights of the game game against LA was when he dove into the 2nd row to save a ball from going out of bounds. That kind of hustle should earn him playing time. He finished the game against Dallas with 15 points, 5 rebounds, and 2 assists while shooting 62.5% from the field and 50% from beyond the arc.

Jaelen House
Jaelen is the son of Celtics champion and commentator Eddie House. Jaelen House went undrafted in this year’s draft, despite a strong senior season at New Mexico. His quickness and his ability to create shots make him fun to watch. in his first start for the Summer Celtics, he finished with 18 points, 2 rebounds and 9 assists while shooting 36.8% from the field and 28.6% from beyond the arc.

Philadelphia 76ers Roster
Jeff Dowtin
Ricky Council IV
David Jones
Justin Edwards
Jared McCain
RJ Hampton
Keve Aluma
Darius Days
Adem Bona
Tony Bradley
Romeo Langford
Justin Powell
Max Fiedler
Judah Mintz
Jordan Tucker
Jaylen Sims

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Head Coach
Matt Brase

Starters Last Game
Jeff Dowtin
Jared McCain
Ricky Council IV
Justin Edwards
Adem Bona

Players to Watch

Ricky Council IV
Council went undrafted in 2023 but was signed by the 76ers to a 2 way contract and played with their GLeague team last season. In April, he was signed to a regular contract. His his last game, he finished with 20 points, 5 rebounds, 2 assists and 3 steals while shooting 50% from the field and 28.6% from beyond the arc.

Jeff Dowtin
Jeff Dowtin went undrafted in 2020 and since then has played for Orlando, Golden State, Milwaukee, Toronto and Philadelphia on their GLeague teams. In his last game for the 76ers in Summer League, he finished with 17 points, 4 rebounds, and 5 assists while shooting 37.5% from the field and 16.7% from beyond the arc.

David Jones
Jones went undrafted out of Memphis and the 76ers have signed him to a 2 way contract. With Memphis, he shot 38% from deep on 6.5 attempts per night. In the 76ers last game, he came off the bench to finish with 15 poionts, 6 rebounds and 1 steal while shooting 50% from the field and 60% from beyond the arc.

Keys to the Game
Defense – Just as defense is the key to every game in the regular season and in the playoffs, it is also the key to winning in the Summer League. In their first game in Las Vegas, the Celtics allowed the Heat to shoot 61.5% from the field and 60% from beyond the arc. Against the Lakers, they clamped down on defense and held the Lakers to 36.4% from the field and 30.8% from beyond the arc. They held the undefeated Hornets to 43% from the field and 28% on threes. They allowed the Mavericks to shoot 50.7% from the field and 40.7% from beyond the arc. The pattern is clear, play defense and win, slack off on defense and lose.

Rebound – Along with defense, rebounding is always a key to winning. The Celtics out-rebounded the Heat 35-29 in their first game. The Celtics out-rebounded the Lakers 38-35. They were out-rebounded 37-39 against the Hornets and out-rebounded the Mavericks 39-36. The Celtics need to continue to crash the boards in this game if they want to get a win.

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Improvement – In Summer League, improvement and evaluation are more important than winning. Both coaches are looking for improvement from returning players and they are evaluating all of the players on the roster for possible spots on the roster or 2 way contracts. The Celtics saw improvement in several players in their first 3 games and hopefully will see even more improvement in this game. Jordan Walsh has struggled with his shot in Summer League so far and it would be good to see him have a good game in this one.

X-Factors
Chemistry and Experience
The 76ers have played 3 more games than the Celtics as they played in Salt Lake City. The 76ers have 1 player with 6 years experience, 2 players with 4 years experience (including former Celtic, Romeo Langford), 2 players with 1 year experience and 11 rookies. The Celtics have 1 player with 3 years experience, 4 players with 2 years experience, 1 player with 1 year experience and 7 rookies.



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Pittsburg, PA

2-Alarm Pittsburg House Fire Sends Two People to Hospital

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2-Alarm Pittsburg House Fire Sends Two People to Hospital


An overnight 2-alarm house fire in the City of Pittsburg sent a 5-year-old and her father to the hospital.

The Contra Costa County Fire Protection District responded to a home on Apricot Court off Wedgewood at approximately 1:00 am Sunday morning.

According to Battalion Chief Scott Valencia, fire crews arrived on scene to a report of fire shooting out of the roof on the backside of the home and in the backyard. Sheds behind the house were also on fire.

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Valencia said with an aggressive fire attack, crews kept the fire to the origin of the first home. Two people were transported to an area hospital for smoke inhalation.

One of the challenges with the fire was the overnight winds along with fire crews just finishing battling a 20-acre vegetation fire in Bay Point. On that fire, crews were rushing against the wind as the fire was being pushed towards houses. Crews were able to prevent the fire from reaching the homes.

Previous Stories:

June Activity:

“The month of June did not disappoint. The month of June is typically our busiest month of the year for overall activity because of the winds and dry grass,” explained Broschard. “We get multiple vegetation fires over the month.”

The chief explained what happens in the City of Antioch and City of Pittsburg in the summer months with the west winds is the dry vegetation is next to houses, in subdivisions, and housing tracts, especially in the month of June, not all the abatement is done so there is a higher risk of fire moving into structures.

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He also called it “higher than normal” for June to have 13 structure fires.

Twelve significant vegetation fires occurred across the county. The two most significant events occurred at the old golf course in Pittsburg, where an old maintenance building that caught fire extended into the vegetation. Structure protection was required for homes adjacent to the golf course property. A second fast-moving vegetation fire occurred in Antioch, which also required structure protection of homes adjacent to the incident. A total of 250 acres burned. In both instances, no homes were damaged or lost due to the actions of suppression personnel and aviation assets provided by CAL FIRE.

Thirteen working structure fires occurred during the month of June, the most significant being a fire in an apartment building in Pittsburg. Fire crews pulled two victims out of the apartment. Both were not breathing at the time of the rescue, but they regained spontaneous respirations after treatment. The adult victim was recently listed in stable condition, but the hospital would not release the status of the juvenile victim.



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Connecticut

Nantucket Triathlon participant dies after pulled from water

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Nantucket Triathlon participant dies after pulled from water


A Nantucket Triathlon participant died on Saturday morning after they were pulled unresponsive from the water at Jetties Beach, according to the Nantucket Fire Department.

The person was visiting from Connecticut. Their name, gender, and age had not been released as of Sunday.

The event requires a 600-yard swim, a 13.5-mile bike ride and a run of 3.4 miles.

Firefighters responded to the beach when lifeguards called for help at 7:01 a.m. The swimmer was brought to shore by lifeguards at 7:05 a.m. and advanced lifesaving interventions began two minutes later, according to the fire department.

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The patient was stabilized and taken by a lifeguard ATV to an ambulance waiting in the parking lot, which then brought the person to Nantucket Cottage Hospital for further medical treatment.

The person was pronounced dead at 8:05 a.m.

“The Nantucket Fire Department is profoundly grateful for the lifeguards’ quick actions and heroic efforts. Their prompt response and coordinated efforts allowed the patient to be treated and transported to the hospital efficiently,” reads the release from the fire department.

Zane Razzaq writes about housing and real estate. Reach her at zrazzaq@capecodonline.com. Follow her on Twitter @zanerazz.

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