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Family Of Student At Prestigious Westchester School Who Died By Suicide Considers Legal Action

Claudio Mandia
Claudio Mandia Photo Credit: Instagram/@claudio__mandia

The family of an Italian teen who was a student at a prestigious New York academy has issued a statement following his death by suicide after allegedly being placed in isolation.

The incident took place in Westchester County around 9:30 a.m., Thursday, Feb. 17 at the EF Academy in Thornwood, according to Chief Paul J. Oliva, of the Mount Pleasant Police.

When police responded to a call of a suicidal person, Claudio Mandia, age 17, of Salerno, Italy, was found dead in a room at EF Academy on the eve of his 18th birthday, Oliva said. 

He died from hanging, Oliva said.

His parents and three siblings flew in to JFK Airport from Italy on the same day to celebrate his birthday and instead of being met by their son and brother, they were greeted by police and school officials informing them of this death, said the family's attorney, George Bochetto.

"While the investigation about the treatment of Claudio is not yet complete, it is already clear that Claudio was subjected to solitary confinement for days by EF Academy school officials as 'punishment' for classwork," the Mandia family said in a statement through Bochetto. 

Once an investigation into his death is complete, the family plans to take action but would prefer not to comment further at this time, they added.

Mandia was set to graduate from the $62,000-a-year school in May and planned to follow in the footsteps of his entrepreneur father, who owns a successful frozen Italian pizza export firm called Fiad.

“Claudio was a wonderful person and student and he couldn’t wait for his family to come to New York from Italy to celebrate his 18th birthday,” the family said.

The academy did not address the family's claims in a statement by the academy Vice President Jill Reilly but did say: "The safety of our school community is always our top priority. We have very strong policies and procedures in place regarding the health and well-being of young people who are away from their home countries."

Reilly said the school is in close contact with the local authorities who are investigating the circumstances of his death. 

Mandia’s parents remained in New York to make arrangements to take his body back to Italy.

This remains a developing story. Check back to Daily Voice for updates. 

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