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“We will get justice", local father hopes NY law cracking down on bullying will catch on

Paul Thompson lost his daughter Bethany to suicide after she was bullied. (Courtesy: Thompson Family)

MIAMI VALLEY, Ohio (WKEF/WRGT) - In upstate New York, a new law is putting parents behind bars if their kids are caught bullying.

Some local families hope the idea will catch on here in the Miami Valley.

11-year-old Bethany Thompson took her life nearly a year ago, due to endless bullying. To this day, her father Paul said no one has been held accountable.

“We will get justice if it's the last thing I do,” Thompson said.

He wishes local communities would be tougher on the issue.

“Bullying is a huge issue and it's not been addressed,” Thompson said.

Near Buffalo, it is. North Tonawanda City Council passed a new law punishing parents if their kids are caught bullying twice in 90 days.

Under the law, parents face a $250 fine and could be sentenced up to 15 days in jail.

Cedarville law professor Marc Clauson said the law has shock value, but may not be effective.

“If they are bad parents, that single event or prosecution may not be enough to change them,” Clauson said.

Clauson said these cases are tough to prosecute and cities could face lawsuits for trying, but he expects other communities to give it a shot.

“I think it's probably likely it will spread to other places,” Clauson said.

Thompson certainly hopes so.

“What they are doing in New York, that's what we need to do,” Thompson said. “That is the first step and that's the approach we need to take.”

Anything to prevent another loss like he experienced with Bethany.

“We need to fix this to make sure no other family goes to this,” Thompson said.

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