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Lawmakers looking to give teeth to anti-bullying laws | News

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Lawmakers looking to give teeth to anti-bullying laws

LAS VEGAS -- A father who lost his daughter to suicide is suing the Clark County School District for failing to let him know she was the victim of bullying.

Now, two state lawmakers are working with him to put laws on the books to address the problem. If the lawmakers have their way, the district could face criminal charges for not telling a child's parents about bullying.

“The lack of change on behalf of the school district sometimes makes it feel like my voice is falling on deaf ears,” Jason Lamberth said. “The biggest concern is that there are no consequences for school employees when they fail to do what they're required to do.”

Lamberth's 13-year-old daughter Hailee took her own life last December. He says he later learned she was the victim of bullying, which her school was made aware of before her suicide.

By law, parents should be notified. Lamberth says he and his wife never were.

Now, he is suing the Clark County School District, and he is working with lawmakers like Assemblywoman Ellen Spiegel, D – District 20. Spiegel says she believe the system failed the Lamberths

“Jason wasn't notified and I think that Jason and his wife would have been able to take some action,” Spiegel said.

Spiegel says laws are in place, but there are no consequences of breaking them. She and State Sen. David Parks, D – District 7 are drafting a bill to change that.

“There needs to be teeth in the laws that we have on the books,” Spiegel said.

She says they're considering adopting the same rules used for failure to report child abuse for not reporting bullying to parents and guardians. Failure to report child abuse is a misdemeanor, which carries a sentence of up to six months in jail and a fine of up to $1,000. For a second offense, the penalties can double.

For Lamberth, new legislation could mean his voice is finally being heard.

“I hope no other parent will have to go through what me and my wife go through on a daily basis,” Lamberth said.

The Clark County School District isn't commenting on Lamberth's lawsuit, but a spokeswoman said the district is sorry about Hailee's death and the district won't be satisfied until all bullying can be handled.

Assemblywoman Spiegel says she and Senator Parks hope to have the draft finished within a month.


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