Last November, Karis Anne Ross, 37-year-old transgender Special Education teacher at The German Immersion School in the Milwaukee Public School system (MPS) took her own life and left a suicide note saying that she had been bullied for the last 10 years.
Now her mother, Jill Greinke, as well a friend and fellow teacher, Madeline Dietrich, are speaking out about her death and both have strong but slightly differing opinions.
Karis’ mother, Jill, is “still not over her death by any means,” but she does acknowledge that her daughter was bullied for the past 10 years as it’s stated in Karis’ last note. However, the grieving mother also stated:
“I don’t blame MPS for my daughter’s death. I believe that, the sad thing of course is that, important things were missed.”
These “important things” she refers to is the lack of attention to the bullying that her daughter was the victim of for years.
Meanwhile, Madeline Dietrich, a friend of Karis’ and a teacher in Chicago, sees things a bit differently. She recently wrote a letter to MPS superintendent Dr. Darienne Driver and posted the letter on her blog which partially blames the school district for Karis’ death due to the lack of awareness and action by the district to prevent bullying.
In the letter she states:
“Ms. Ross repeatedly informed the building principal, Dr. Albert J. Brugger. It had gone on for years, but in the weeks leading to the moment Ms. Ross chose to end her life, numerous emails were exchanged between Ms. Ross, school officials and the medical community, all pointing to a crisis which went largely ignored by Dr. Brugger, who rather than mediating or intervening in the conflict, chose to play down the situation and avoided any direct involvement with Ms. Ross and her aids.”
She goes on to specifically say the teachers aids as well as the building principal are to blame and were named by Karis:
“Each aide was named in Ms. Ross’ suicide letter, along with Dr. Brugger, as the primary cause of her grief. Transgender people are too often rejected by friends, employers, landlords, and family, and are forty percent more likely to attempt suicide than the mean population. Ms. Ross was rejected by the very MPS employees whose job it was to assist her in caring for profoundly disabled children.”
This is so incredibly sad that it appears the MPS didn’t do more to help assist Ms. Ross in her trying time. When a local news team attempted to contact the school district regarding the alleged bullying, they responded with the following statement:
“Ms. Ross was a longtime member of the Milwaukee German Immersion School staff whose presence is still missed.”
Though we understand the need to be PC, the school district addressing it in this way almost helps to fuel the argument that they didn’t pay enough attention and are sweeping an issue like this under the rug. If all of this is true, and Karis did attempt to seek help through her peers, it seems the school, or at least certain individuals, should take some of the blame for not trying to help Ms. Ross when she needed it most.
[Image via CBS.]