Federal lawsuit accuses Clark County School District, principal of failing to investigate bullying

Federal lawsuit accuses Clark County School District, principal of failing to investigate bullying

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LAS VEGAS (KLAS) — The Clark County School District and a principal are the targets of a federal lawsuit that claims administrators didn’t correctly investigate a bullying incident, despite being required under the law.

The alleged incident happened at Garehime Elementary School.

In a federal complaint, Michelle Cox, a former teacher at Garehime, said she followed protocol to report the bullying of her own child.

However, when nothing was done, she reported it to the state and took other actions. She also claimed that led to retaliation.

Last week, 8 News Now reported that Garehime’s principal, Ryan Lewis, was accused by Clark County School District Police of an attempted cover-up during a separate child abuse investigation.

In Cox’s lawsuit filed in September 2020, she claimed her child was bullied at Garehime during the 2018-2019 school year.

The bullying was so bad that a student told Cox’s child, “When I am older. I’m going to murder somebody, somebody like you.”

“The administration in our view dropped the ball and allowed this student to continue to be harassed and bullied,” Jason Bach, the attorney representing Cox said.

Lewis, the principal at Garehime at the time, is accused of not only failing to investigate the bullying, but also of suppressing reports pertaining to any bullying incidents, according to the lawsuit.

“She was retaliated against and accused of wrongdoing for essentially raising her voice and questioning the principal,” Bach said.

Cox said when Garehime administrators failed to investigate the bullying of her child, she reported it to the state hotline, SafeVoice.

According to the lawsuit, that became the first official report on file since the school never filed one, although it’s CCSD policy.

The suit goes on to say that administrators looked into the matter and determined Cox’s allegation was unsubstantiated.

Yet, when CCSD Associate Superintendent Dr. Tammy Malich took over the case, she disagreed with that assessment.

In a letter dated January 20, 2022, Dr. Malich accused Garehime administrators of not doing an adequate investigation and not following protocol.

Additionally, neither the students nor the parents involved were interviewed by Garehime administrators, which is a requirement.

Malich accused Garehime’s principal of creating a climate that allows bullying.

“They had not conducted an investigation that they had said they conducted, and [Malich] recommended that certain action take place at that school,” Bach said. “It’s our understanding that no action took place.”

Cox is no longer employed at the district, according to the lawsuit, she was asked not to return from leave.

Ryan Lewis is no longer a principal at Garehime, the district confirmed to 8 News Now he was assigned to other duties.

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