Milwaukee, WI – A mother in Wisconsin is remembering her daughter whom she says she lost because of bullying in school.
But Karis Anne Ross was not a student.
She was a teacher.
Her mom says Ross was a transgender woman, who was bullied by her co-workers for ten years.
She took her own life in November last year.
As Marshanna Hester reports, her mom now wants some answers from the school.
(Jill Grienke, Mother of Karis Anne Ross): “I’m still not over her death by any means, so it hurts.”
It’s not easy for Jill Grienke to be in the room decorated by her late 37-year-old daughter Karis Anne Ross.
(Jill Grienke, Mother of Karis Anne Ross): “She was my hero. She was extremely authentic.”
But Jill says workplace bullying was too much for her transgender daughter to handle.
Karis left a suicide note. Saying it had happened for 10 years while teaching at German immersion school.
(Jill Grienke, Mother of Karis Anne Ross): “There were people named. Before her transition she was being bullied. After her transition she was being bullied.”
Family and friends say Karis voiced her concerns to the school’s principal, but they were ignored.
(Reporter): “Do you blame MPS for your daughter’s death?”
(Jill Grienke, Mother of Karis Anne Ross): “I don’t blame MPS for my daughter’s death. I believe the sad thing OF COURSE it that important things were missed.”
(Madeline Dietrich/ phone): “The way it was handled is disappointing. That it seemed to be more covered up than shared.”
Friend Madeline Dietrich is calling attention to the issue to bring change. Writing an open letter to MPS Superintendent Dr. Darienne driver.
(Madeline Dietrich/ phone): “I hope that Dr. Driver will acknowledge the incident, in terms of a case where there was bullying happening. I hope she makes a public statement.”
Last Sunday on Jill’s birthday family and friends gathered to celebrate Karis’ life.
(Jill Grienke, Mother of Karis Anne Ross): “Someone who stood for integrity and human rights of all people.”
And remember the passion she had for helping others despite no one helping her.
(Jill Grienke, Mother of Karis Anne Ross): “It’s not to blame MPS. The goal is for this to never happen to anybody again. So that things are taken seriously for all human beings.”
The school was asked about allegations that Karis was bullied.
In a response, a spokesperson only said she was a longtime member of the staff, whose presence is still missed.