Parents sue school district over daughter’s tragic suicide

On November 20, 2013, a seventh grade girl in Nevada used her school’s website to report that her friend, Hailee Lamberth, was being relentlessly bullied by another girl at school.

Under Nevada law, school officials should have informed Hailee’s parents, Jason and Jennifer Lamberth, within 10 days of the report. But no one ever contacted the Lamberths.

Less than a month later, on December 12, Hailee took her own life. She wrote in her suicide note that she hoped that someone would inform her school of her death to deter future bullying.

Now, Hailee’s parents are suing the school district for wrongful death. The Lamberths claim that if they been informed of the bullying within the required time period, they could have prevented Hailee from taking her own life.

In a recent interview with the Las Vegas Review-Journal, the Lamberths said that Hailee — an honors student and star soccer goalie — kept the bullying a secret. Shame often surrounds bullying, so many schools use anonymous online reporting and other tools to get students to speak up about bullying.

But at Hailee’s school, White Middle School, it would appear that the staff was keeping the bullying a secret, too. After months of meeting with school officials, Jason Lamberth says that school officials failed in their legal duty to investigate and report numerous incidents of Hailee being bullied, in addition to their failure to properly act on the online report they received in November.

According to the Review-Journal report, Hailee was called names every day in gym class and received notes in her locker telling her that she should die. The Lamberths claim that Hailee’s gym teacher, Kim Jefferson, witnessed the bullying but never reported it to the principal, as Nevada law requires.

The Lamberths filed their wrongful death lawsuit in Clark County, Nevada on October 21, 2014.

By Mary Ellis LaGarde

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