Preventing suicide through kindness


Make text smaller Make text larger



Photos



  • Dianne Grossman uses a photo of her daughter, Mallory, to illustrate the effects of bullying. The black marks represent unkind words and actions that cannot be erased with an apology. Grossman founded Mallory's Army after her 12-year-old daughter Mallory's 2017 suicide. She gave a message of empowerment and kindness to students at the Halsted Middle School in Newton on Tuesday, March 12, 2019. (Photos by Mandy Coriston).




  • Dianne Grossman, who founded Mallory's Army after her daughter's death in 2017, speaks to 7th- and 8th- graders at Halsted Middle School in Newton on Tuesday, March 12, 2019.




By Mandy Coriston

Newton - Wearing a bright blue “Mallory’s Army” T-Shirt, Dianne Grossman on Tuesday told Halsted Middle School 7th- and 8th-graders, "your words matter.”

Grossman said that when she was bullied as a child in rural Georgia, in the days before the internet, bullying did not spill over into after school hours.

“When I left school, I was just another kid," she said. That stands in contrast to when Grossman's daughter, Mallory, was harassed at school and also on the web.

In June 2017, under constant pressure from harassment, Mallory took her own life. She was 12 years old.

“When Mal told me about the bullies, I told her all the things I could think of to comfort her,” Grossman said, “But it wasn’t the right solution. We need to acknowledge that yesterday’s solutions don’t work.”

Grossman told the students that suicide is the leading cause of death among pre-teens and that it’s preventable as long as people acknowledge the crisis. To illustrate what teens face, Grossman presented an easel bearing a photograph of Mallory on her first day of school as a 5th-grader.

“Each and every one of us is born with a blank canvas, and the people who love you will paint you with beautiful brushstrokes," she said.

With a black marker, Grossman made big, black Xs across Mallory's backpack, her outfit, her jewelry - all the things Mallory had been bullied about.

She explained that unkind remarks are like taking a black Sharpie to your beautiful canvas, "and even if they say they are sorry, it doesn’t erase those black marks.”

Grossman said her daughter had been a gymnast and cheerleader who loved making jewelry and supporting a camp for children with cancer.

“Kids these days say ‘yolo’- you only live once, but that’s not true," she said. "We live twice. We live now, and we live on in how people remember us when we’re gone.”

Grossman's life changed in just four minutes on that June day almost two years ago, but she still considers herself blessed.

“I only have an hour to change your life, but I am so lucky I got to be the mom of the girl who can change it.”

Grossman encouraged students to think about their character, how the world sees them, and how they treat others. Concluding her presentation by passing out bright blue Mallory’s Army bracelets, she asked the students to take a pledge, so they repeated in unision: “I will always be kind, I will wear my Mallory’s Army band every day, and I will be the kind of person I want to meet.”

Language Arts teacher Joseph Bolen said the message was eloquent and necessary.

“You could see some of them tearing up while Mrs. Grossman was speaking," he said. "...As a father, it makes me think about how to protect him [his young son]. And I think Dianne is just the bravest person to be able to do this and gather support and keep her daughter’s memory alive. I think that’s what any parent would want.”

The school assembly was a collaboration with the Newton Police Department. Grossman was scheduled to meet with parents in an evening program on Wednesday, Mar. 13.

“Her message is just so meaningful,” Newton Chief of Police Mike Richards said, “I hope it will have a lasting effect on the kids and their parents.”

Additional information on the Mallory’s Army initiative and upcoming events can be found online at www.mallorysarmy.org or Facebook search: Mallory’s Army.



Make text smaller Make text larger

Comments

Pool Rules



MUST READ NEWS

Northwestern NJ Swim Invitational 2019
By Mandy Coriston
Poolside at Kittatinny Regional High School, parents and coaches shouted words of encouragement to swimmers, as more than 200 area athletes from ages 6-18...

Read more »
Image

Sussex increases reward for return of missing Seeing Eye dog
Sheriff Michael F. Strada and the commissioners of the Sussex County Sheriff’s Crime Stoppers organization have announced the contribution of an additional $1,000 for...
Read more »
Image

Twins donate to Ginnie's House
Justin and Gia Pavelko turned 6 years old this week but instead of the many presents they usually receive from friends and family, the Pavelko family asked relatives and friends...
Read more »
Image

National Guard vet bill passes Assembly
Veterans who served in the National Guard will be able to use the guard’s discharge form to obtain a county veteran’s ID card under legislation approved today by the...
Read more »

VIDEOS



Subscribe to our mailing list

* indicates required
Community Newspapers



MOST READ

Local News
Northwestern NJ Swim Invitational 2019
  • Jul 13, 2019
Local News
Twins donate to Ginnie's House
  • Jul 12, 2019
Local News
National Guard vet bill passes Assembly
  • Jul 11, 2019
Local News
Freelance paints reminders of Tuscany
  • Jul 11, 2019
Entertainment
Don Felder at the NEWT
  • Jul 11, 2019

MOST COMMENTED



Find more about Weather in Andover, NJ