Jocelyn Walters, a 14-year-old aspiring tri-athlete from New Jersey and a dedicated fan of The Smashing Pumpkins, tragically died by suicide on Sept. 9, 2022, after being subjected to relentless bullying and harassment from her peers. Her parents, Fred and Solangie “Soly” Walters, have filed a lawsuit against the Middletown Township School District, the school board, and other defendants for failing to intervene and prevent their daughter’s untimely death.

According to the lawsuit, Jocelyn was a high-achieving student with dreams of studying law at Notre Dame, but her aspirations were shattered when she became a target of bullying at school and online. One particular bully, identified as J.M., engaged in a pattern of abusive behavior towards Jocelyn, including sharing personal information, isolating her from friends, and making derogatory comments on social media.

Despite multiple complaints made by Jocelyn’s family and others, the school officials allegedly failed to address the bullying and protect Jocelyn from harm. The lawsuit also claims that a nurse at a mental health clinic negligently increased Jocelyn’s antidepressant medication without informing her parents, contributing to the tragic outcome.

Fred Walters recounted how his daughter’s bullies, who were once her friends, turned on her after a sleepover at their house. He emphasized the importance of proper discipline in deterring bullying behavior and expressed his disappointment in the lack of action taken by the school authorities.

The day Jocelyn took her own life, her family’s routine was disrupted when she did not respond to calls and texts. Fred Walters discovered his daughter’s lifeless body in her room, a sight that continues to haunt him. He believes that the increased medication played a significant role in Jocelyn’s death.

In response to the rising rates of suicide among young people, the Walters family has launched a nonprofit organization called 99 Smiles to raise awareness about youth mental health and advocate for better resources. Fred Walters hopes to keep his daughter’s memory alive while seeking justice for her tragic passing.

The lawsuit underscores the devastating impact of bullying and the urgent need for schools to address and prevent such harmful behavior among students. The Walters family’s story serves as a poignant reminder of the importance of supporting mental health and fostering a safe and inclusive environment for all students.