Lawsuit: Kearny HS student attempted suicide after being snubbed from honors class


A Kearny High School student, who eventually left to be home schooled, attempted suicide after being snubbed from an honor’s program by their guidance counselor, a lawsuit filed by his parents says.

Photo via

By John Heinis/Hudson County

The 19-page, six-count lawsuit, which was filed in Hudson County Superior Court on May 30th, indicates that the former student is still a minor, so they are referred to only as A.B. His parents are identified simply as M.B. and A.K. and the suit notes they are practicing Muslims.

While the student qualified to enroll at the Hudson County Schools of Technology for the 2020-2021 scholastic year with a 4.4 GPA, he choose to stay local at Kearny High School to play sports and participate in their honors programs.

“Based upon his academic performance, A.B. reasonably believed and expected that his request to be enrolled in Honors Chemistry would be granted. Indeed, A.B. should have been automatically enrolled in Honors Chemistry due to his exceptional performance,” the court filing states.

“Upon information and belief, [Kearny High School Guidance Counselor Tali] Edi harbored prejudices against the plaintiffs because they were Muslims and were from Morocco.”

Through their attorney, Ronald Berutti, of Clark-based Murray-Nolan Berutti LLC, the parents contend that Edi said she would check to see if A.B. was a good fit for the Honors Chemistry class, but said it was not possible due to “an irreconcilable scheduling conflict.”

While A.B. said in a June 17th, 2021 email that it was really important for him to be enrolled in the Honors Chemistry program, Edi told him the next day that there was nothing that could be done to alleviate the scheduling conflict.

The student continued to press the issue at the beginning of their sophomore year, eventually resulting in Edi asking him to see them in person.

When the student stopped by her office on September 21st, 2021, Edi again said there was no way to make the schedules coincide, also indicating he was not qualified for the class despite his high marks.

“Edi’s misinformation and misrepresentations confused and frustrated A.B. and caused him to fall into anxiety and depression, partially for deciding not to attend HCST, which offered honors classed for students with his abilities, including Honors Chemistry,” the lawsuit asserts.

” … A.B. kept his depression secret from his parents M.B. and A.K. as he tried to work out the problem on his own with Edi; however, A.B.’s mental state grew progressively worse.”

Around this time, he began seeking a virtual session with the school psychologist, but was unable to find time and her schedule and Edi did nothing to assist him, according to the court filing.

By October, his depression had continued to worsen and Edi has suggested to the student’s mother that he could become a safety risk, which the family took as a prejudicial comment against Muslims.

The week before Thanksgiving, A.K. was informed by Edi that her child was not eligible for Honors Chemistry, prompting her to check with A.B.’s science teacher, Charles Polk. He confirmed that the student indeed had the grades to enroll in Honors Chemistry.

Polk then wrote a subsequent email to the Kearny High School Director of Counseling Paul Measso before calling Edi, who insisted that it would be completely untenable to get A.B.’s schedule to work, even if he gave up his lunch break, the lawsuit says.

After Measso returned from leave, he scheduled a meeting with A.K., though just before, Edi went into his office for about 15 minutes.

Edi then informed the mother that by switching A.B.’s math class from 2nd period to 5th period, he was able to enroll in Honors Chemistry – a fairly basic and simple scheduling change.

At that time, A.B. had told his parents that he couldn’t sleep due to his depression, which kept him from attending classes and taking tests.

While he tried to relay this information to Edi right before Christmas, his mental health had deteriorated to the point where he could not speak or write his thoughts clearly.

Shortly thereafter, he was admitted to a emergency room for about being two weeks after being completely non-communicative. Just 12 days after returning home, he was admitted for another two-week stay for the same reason.

A.K. then scheduled a meeting with Edi and Measso, with the latter indicating that his A.B.’s freshman science teacher must’ve made a mistake online that prevented him from enrolling in Honors Chemistry.

He resumed school from home instruction between February and April of 2022, returning to school for the last quarter of the year or so.

Then-Superintendent of Schools Patricia Blood and High School Principal Jacalyn Richardson responded by inquiries from A.K. by stating that a “keying error” had led to the circumstances, essentially confirming that Edi had never spoke with A.B.’s freshman science teacher, the suit states.

Blood allegedly apologized to the family for the error and A.B. eventually dropped out of school in November 2022.

According to the suit, he attempted suicide on December 9th, 2022 and now attends a “specialty school” due to “the severe psychiatric and emotional harm he suffered due to defendants’ misconduct and neglect.”

The suit, which names the district, Edi, and John Does 1 through 10, is claiming discrimination due to his religion, race, color of his skin, national origin, disability or perceived disability, and a violation of his civil rights.

As a result, the family is seeking compensatory, consequential, and punitive damages, as well as attorneys’ fees, costs of suit, and expert witness costs, along with interest as allowed by law and any relief the court deems just and equitable.

Kearny school officials did not return inquiries seeking comment.

Warning: A non-numeric value encountered in /home/hcvcp/public_html/wp-content/themes/Hudson County View/includes/wp_booster/td_block.php on line 353


  1. Don’t give up. I’m sorry this happened to you. This whole school system needs to be revamped. They are negligent in helping students even though they try to make you think they are doing what they can. They failed my kids because they couldn’t deal with learning disabilities. Don’t let them win.

  2. IDN. I didn’t get the class I want and now I’m a basket case? Who falls apart that easy?
    I think this kid has other issues, although i don’t doubt he was kept out of the class on purpose.

  3. Lol so because he didn’t get a class he wanted that directly correlates to being suicidal right? And because the counselor was DOING HER JOB IN BEING WORRIED about his mental state and informing his parents that means she’s prejudicing against his religion? Kids and cases like this are the problem with our society, and it’s so sadly obvious that this family is willing to stretch any story for a couple of bucks and ruin someone’s career.

  4. I’m sure he’s not the first student that didn’t get a class he wanted…The headline speaks for itself to show how ridiculous this situation is. Epitome of stealing someone’s reputation for personal gain and issues on a personal level with this teacher. I’d even argue the student and his family should be sued back, given how far they took this situation to ruin this teacher’s career

  5. All of these allegations against the guiding consular that she did this on purpose, because he is Muslim from morocco and didn’t take care of the matter because of his religion or color
    This is totally untrue because I know her personally I am Moroccan I know her over 25 years I know her personality that she loves everybody equally and especially her student all of them. It’s clearly looks like the family looking to get money out of the system. it is terrible that all of these allegations pointing to racial color and religion accusation