PICATINNY ARSENAL, N.J. - Mallory Rose Grossman was just like many other young girls her age. The 12-year-old Rockaway, New Jersey, native was an avid gymnast and cheerleader. A lover of all things outdoors. With her home near Picatinny Arsenal, Mallory often came on post to play with her friends who lived in military housing.
Mallory loved the arts and made jewelry to raise money for charities that benefited children with cancer. She also loved summer weekends with her family at their favorite campground. Her smile and giggle could light up a room.
Then, with so much life ahead, the unimaginable occurred. Sadly, on June 14, 2017, Mallory took her own life after being bullied in school and cyberbullied by classmates throughout the school year with text and Snapchat messages.
Picatinny Arsenal officials hosted an after-work event on Sep. 19, that allowed installation employees, military families, and community partners to come hear Mallory’s story from her mother, Dianne Grossman. The event, which was coordinated through Picatinny Arsenal’s Employee Assistance Program, also offered information from Ganaya Palmer, Director of Suicide & Prevention, Mental Health Association, in northern New Jersey.
“Your presence here to hear about this difficult topic and get a shared understanding of what Mallory’s Army is and why the topic of bullying is so important to our youth and to our families, is appreciated,” Lt. Col. Alexander D. Burgos, Picatinny Arsenal garrison commander, said to those attending in person and other watching the live presentation on Microsoft Teams.
“I brought my kids with me tonight,” Burgos said. “They don’t necessarily want to talk about the topic, but we constantly see bullying in the news, and as parents, this dynamic problem can be complex to navigate. But we have lessons, hard lessons that people have learned, and if we don’t take the time to understand these lessons, then we are failing as parents.”
During the presentation in the Lindner Conference Center, Dianne Grossman spoke briefly about the tragedy that impacted her family and the actions that would follow, including the passing of “Mallory’s Law.”
In January 2022, New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy signed a measure, dubbed “Mallory’s Law,” requiring school districts to provide specific consequences in anti-bullying policies for students harassing or bullying a classmate, according to the New Jersey state legislature.
Even while being mentally tortured by her peers, Mallory wanted to bring good to world. Unaware that she would later become the poster child for bullying and suicide prevention awareness, Mallory did all that she could to spread cheer to others.
Diane said that Mallory wanted everyone to “live a bracelet kind of life.”
“You put a bracelet on your arm, and you remember to celebrate all of the good in the world,” Diane said, recalling Mallory’s explanation for the phrase.
Mallory’s signature phrase gained traction after she came up with the idea to sell homemade bracelets and donate the money to Camp Good Days and Special Times, an organization that aims to improve the quality of life for families touched by cancer.
In the aftermath of her death, Mallory’s parents also founded Mallory's Army, a nonprofit organization dedicated to educating parents and school administrators about the dangers of bullying. The family also produced the documentary "Mallory" in 2020.
The film, now also available for purchase/streaming online, was played following the opening presentations at Picatinny.
The one and a half-hour movie documents the journey Mallory’s family and friends take to educate and inspire children and adults alike, serving as a reminder to always be a positive force, standing up against bullying.
Melissa Clark, an administrative assistant in the garrison headquarters, brought her teenage daughter to the presentation.
"I make it a point to be present in her life and discuss topics such as bullying to always give her an open door to communicate with me or another trusted person in her life. Suicide has touched my family which makes this a very important topic to me.
"We discussed on the car ride home through many tears,” Clark added. “Mallory’s story affected us deeply, even more so watching the documentary on the big screen. Mallory was such a beautiful soul, and her mother is unbelievably strong and dedicated to this cause."
If you or someone you know may be struggling with suicidal thoughts, you can call the U.S. Suicide and Crisis Lifeline at 988.
Employees who believe they may have an addiction problem should contact Amy Gopel, the installation’s Alcohol and Substance Abuse Program Manager and Employee Assistance Program Coordinator, at 973-724-4357 or for a referral. All screenings are confidential.