LAS VEGAS (KTNV) — Neglecting their duty, or following the law as written?
That’s the question in a civil suit regarding the Clark County School District’s role in addressing a case of cyberbullying against a Las Vegas valley high school student.
“The Clark County School District has an obligation to their students," said attorney Patrick Kang.
Kang says the district did not uphold for his client Min Woo Cho, during closing arguments. The Cho family filed a civil suit saying CCSD didn't do enough to help his safety and well-being after reporting an instance of cyberbullying.
“The Clark County School District takes cyberbullying seriously? Maybe they do. But in this case by case basis which you heard over and over, a case by case basis. In this case, it did not happen,” Kang said.
It all stems from an Instagram chat thread written in August of 2019 when Cho was a junior at West Career and Technical Academy in Summerlin.
Three classmates in the thread described graphically how they would kill Cho. Kang says Cho feared for his life and felt the school didn’t take his claims seriously and was negligent in the handling of Cho’s case causing him further PTSD.
“Why aren’t these proper steps taken. Why isn’t there a written statement? Why is the victim’s name wrong? Why are two aggressors named as victims,” he asked.
CCSD’s attorney argued the letter of the law was followed in their policies. She says CCSD did try to help Cho. The district says it takes cyberbullying seriously and disputes the PTSD claims.
“CCSD is not the cause of any damages. You know that. Any PTSD, you heard Dr. Elliot. He says the cause is from the death threats and cyberbullying. Nothing to do with the Clark County School District,” said Melissa Alessi, assistant general counsel for CCSD.
Alessi argued safety involves effort from Cho and his family as well.
“It’s not just the school’s responsibility. The parents and students have to take some responsibility. Min Woo has to take some responsibility,” she said.
Cho’s family was seeking more than $275,000 in damages from CCSD including medical expenses with past and future pain and suffering. The jury ultimately ruled in favor of giving Cho about $27,000 in medical expenses and past pain and suffering. It rejected the future pain and suffering damages.
The three classmates involved in the cyberbullying had their cases settled or with verdicts favorable to Cho. CCSD was the only defendant that went to trial.