An 11-year-old girl from New Jersey, Felicia LoAlbo-Melendez, took her own life in her school bathroom at F.W. Holbein School.
The tragic event occurred days after her father, NJ Transit Detective Alexis Melendez, lost his battle with pancreatic cancer, and a week after her mother claimed to have reported bullying incidents to the school.
Felicia was discovered unresponsive in a bathroom stall by a fellow student on February 6th. School officials, police, and emergency medical technicians attempted lifesaving measures, but Felicia was ultimately pronounced dead at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia on February 8th. The Philadelphia Medical Examiner’s Office confirmed that the cause of death was suicide.
The Burlington County Prosecutor’s Office conducted an investigation, which included reviewing surveillance footage, and determined that Felicia was alone in the restroom at the time of her death, with no foul play involved.
Felicia’s mother, Elaina LoAlbo, revealed that her daughter had sent emails to the school administration, reporting bullying incidents involving herself and her friends. However, she believes that the school did not take any action in response to the complaints. Felicia had also proposed the idea of a “trauma club” at the school, where students could safely discuss stressors in their lives, but it is unclear if any action was taken on her proposal.
Felicia’s mother, while grieving, expressed her frustration with the school’s handling of her daughter’s reports and the investigation into her death.
A Change.org petition has been started, calling for the release of surveillance videos from the area near the bathroom where Felicia was found. Elaina LoAlbo has made it her mission to ensure that her daughter’s legacy lives on and that similar tragedies receive attention.
The school board has not commented on the situation, citing the ongoing investigation, and Mount Holly School Superintendent Robert Mungo did not respond to requests for comment. In a letter to the school community, Mungo acknowledged the student’s death and provided resources for mental health and counseling services.
During a school board meeting, Seth Turner, the father of one of Felicia’s close friends, spoke about her being bullied and admitted that he failed to inform the school staff in time for any action to be taken. He criticized the school’s response to Felicia’s death and demanded a full investigation, accounting, and truth for her sake.