SCOTCH PLAINS/FANWOOD, NJ — Mallory Rose Grossman, a girl from Rockaway, NJ, took her own life on last June at the age of 12. Following this tragedy, her parents, Dianne and Seth Grossman, started a charitable foundation called Mallory’s Army. Its mission is to change behavior, provide education to parents and create enrichment programs for schools to put a solution in place to end bullying.

Mallory's Mom, Dianne Grossman, will speak at by All Saints’ Episcopal Church on Tuesday, Oct. 2, from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. to tell parents how to protect their family from "Not My Child" Syndrome.  

“I have been following Mallory Grossman’s story since she took her own life last year. It broke my heart when I heard all the news reports. I remember her in the cheerleader picture on the news,” said Anthony Fiore, one of the event organizers. “I have two girls; they both cheer. My older one is close to her age. The fact that it happened in New Jersey brought this way too close to home.”

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Fiore began following Mallory’s Army on Facebook and found it devastating to read many of the posts. 

“My heart ached for Dianne and the Grossman family, but the fact that she was making this terrible story into a positive and trying to spread the ‘Be Kind’ message and helping parents combat bullying and stand up and fight was very empowering,” added Fiore, who said that during his daughter’s 6th grade at Terrill Middle School he constantly heard stories about lunchroom drama. 

“Things were going on at school that didn’t sound right to me — like kids not being allowed at tables and eating in the nurse’s office,” Fiore explained. “That’s where it all started with Mallory and her bullies.”

Fiore said he was sick of hearing about what was happening at Terrill and “knew we needed to bring Dianne and Mallory’s Army to the community. He posted on the Scotch Plains Community page on Facebook that he was fed up and I would try and bring Mallory’s Army to the community. He emailed, spoke with and met Mallory's mom, Dianne, on June 7 and was motivated by her determination and persistence to keep children safe.

“I began getting private messages from parents thanking me for trying to bring this program to SPF,” Fiore said. “I have over 20 private messages of bullying stories from parents — a few from our elementary schools, but a large majority from Terrill and Park. Things were worse than I thought.”

Fiore teamed with Scotch Plains resident Jeff Kowalczyk, who had just created a parent group with the goal of collaborating with the schools and community to provide “a physically and mentally safe environment for all our children.” The SPF United: Parents Coalition for Safety & Mental Wellness was born.

“Within one month we had a 300-seat venue donated by All Saints’ Episcopal Church, a date, a flyer and a ticketing site was created,” Fiore said. “Today, 130 presale tickets — 108 adult tickets and 22 children’s — tickets were sold.”

Seating is limited. Tickets are on sale again at https://mallorysarmyspf.brownpapertickets.com on Friday, July 20. Adults 18 and Over: $10. Children 12-17: $5. All proceeds will be donated to Mallory's Army. (No Children under 12.)

Editor's Note: October is Anti-Bullying Month