CHARLOTTE, N.C. - Not a day goes by that Cheryl Clark doesn’t think about her granddaughter Savanna Branch. Savanna, 13, took her own life at her home in June.
Clark said Savanna left a note saying it was because she was bullied.
“It just said, ‘The reason I’m dead now is because I was bullied,’” Clark said. “She didn’t say by who, where it happened or anything.”
Clark said Savanna was bullied at school two years ago. She said they notified the school district, but it said it couldn’t punish students without proof.
Clark started a petition to toughen bullying laws with a punishment of jail time. Once she gets 500 signatures, she will send it to the president, Gov. Pat McCrory and state lawmakers.
Channel 9 asked state Rep. Carla Cunningham, D-Mecklenburg, about the idea.
“I would be really surprised if we saw something go that far that would be punishable by jail time,” she said.
Cunningham has introduced a suicide prevention resolution, which would require educators, clergy and health care providers to get training to recognize when children are at risk of hurting themselves.
“We currently don't have any laws or statutes in the state of North Carolina that addresses suicide prevention training,” she said.
Clark said the suicide prevention resolution is a step in the right direction, but she still wants tougher penalties for bullying.
"I just know that something has to be done because it not only affects the person being bullied it affects their friends, family, so many other people,” Clark said.