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In a hearing focusing on anti-bullying legislation Friday at the Nevada Legislature, Dee Gregory’s testimony was chilling.
Gregory is the father of the Fallon High School wrestler who was stripped then urinated on by teammates during a December trip to Las Vegas. It was an incident that school coaches and administrators initially did not report to authorities.
The incident, which was reported by news media across the state, has left Gregory’s son broken and contemplating suicide. The incident shows that the state’s anti-bullying laws need to be strengthened, Gregory said.
“What happened to my son has made it impossible for him to go back to school,” Gregory told the Senate Education Committee. “Since Feb. 11, for 49 days my son has been hospitalized, and it is unclear when he will return to society or if we ever will.
“He wants to die and I work hard every day to keep him alive,” Gregory said. “To him, death is the ultimate protection. To him, death is his safe zone. To him, death means freedom from pain. To be dead ensures him that no one will ever hurt him again or violate him. Unless the law is changed, there is not hope.”
Two bills, SB 275 and SB 276, were designed after the Dec. 3 incident involving Gregory’s son to beef up current anti-bullying laws in Nevada.
SB 275, sponsored by Sen. Shelia Leslie, D-Reno, would make bullying a crime, a misdemeanor for the first offense but a felony for the third offense. It also provides civil liability for school districts that fail to comply with anti-bullying laws.
SB 276, sponsored by Sen. David Parks, D-Las Vegas, would set up a bullying prevention fund for the state’s general fund and force each Nevada school district to have an anti-bullying coordinator and every Nevada school to have an anti-bullying specialist and school safety team.
“The current law has made a mockery of my son and other victims,” Gregory said. “(These bills) will not stop bullying and hazing completely, but it will decrease the number of victims because the aggressors will know that there are consequences for their actions. This criminal behavior needs to stop.”