It’s not easy for Jill Greinke to be in the room decorated by her late 37-year-old daughter Karis Anne Ross. “I’m still not over her death by any means, so it hurts,” she said. “She was my hero. She was extremely authentic.”
But Greinke said workplace bullying was too much for her transgender daughter to handle. Karis committed suicide in November 2014 and left a suicide note, saying the bullying had happened for 10 years, while teaching at German Immersion School.
“There were people named,” Greinke said. “Before her transition she was being bullied. After her transition she was being bullied.”
Family and friends said Karis voiced her concerns to the school’s principal, but they went ignored.
Despite that, Greinke said, “I don’t blame MPS for my daughter’s death. I believe the sad thing it that important things were missed.”
“The way it was handled is disappointing,” said Madeline Dietrich, friend. “That it seemed to be more covered up than shared.”
In order to bring change, Dietrich is calling attention to the issue, writing an open letter to MPS superintendent Dr. Darienne Driver.
“I hope that Dr. Driver will acknowledge the incident, in terms of a case where there was bullying happening,” said Dietrich via phone. “I hope she makes a public statement.”
Last Sunday on Greinke’s birthday, family and friends gathered to celebrate Karis’ life and remember the passion she had for helping others, despite no one helping her.
“It’s not to blame MPS,” Greinke said. “The goal is for this to never happen to anybody again. So that things are taken seriously for all human beings.”
We asked MPS about the claims Karis was being bullied and the alleged lack of action by the principal. A spokesperson sent us this, “Ms. Ross was a longtime member of the Milwaukee German Immersion School staff whose presence is still missed.”