Protecting students online has never been more challenging. Fortunately, more attention is being drawn to the dangers of cyberbullying, going so far as to become part of the law.
In this blog post, we are going to delve into David’s Law, the impact it has continued to have on Texas Schools, and provide you with some resources to help curb the effects of cyberbullying on students.
What is David’s Law?
David’s Law (otherwise known as Senate Bill 179) empowers schools, providing them with more tools to combat bullying, such as being able to address bullying that happens off school property, as it interferes with a student’s education. The consequences of engaging with bullying are now much more severe, making it possible to prosecute bullies.
Why is David’s Law Necessary?
Cyberbullying has become more of a threat to students than ever before. According to Security.org, 21% of kids between the ages of 10-18 have been cyberbullied. Students are spending more time online, exposing them more than ever before to name calling, harassment, mean comments and harmful content.
David’s Law Requirements
School districts are required to adopt a policy that prohibits the bullying of students, establishes a procedure for notifying the parents of the students involved in bullying incidents, and provides resources for students affected by bullying, such as counselling. Schools are also required to establish an anonymous method for students to report bullying.
It became law on September 1, 2017. You can read the law here.
How Did David’s Law Start? The Story Behind David’s Law
David Molak, a 16-year-old high school student in San Antonio, committed suicide after being cyberbullied. His family created the David’s Legacy Foundation, with the goal of eliminating bullying through education and legislative changes. They encourage schools and parents to actively monitor the child in their care for signs of bullying and provide them with resources to help them do so.
Punishment for Breaking David’s Law
Students who have engaged in bullying may be expelled or placed in an alternative education program. Schools also have the right to report conduct (such as assault or harassment) to local law enforcement.
Parents may seek injunctive relief if their child is cyberbullied. Courts can also issue a restraining order. A San Antonio parent recently filed a cyberbullying lawsuit, seeking $50 000 in damages (slander, emotional distress, defamation) from their child’s classmates and parents.
Does this mean that cyberbullying is illegal in Texas?
Yes. Since David’s law was enacted, cyberbullying has become illegal in Texas.
To learn more about cyberbullying, how to prevent it and how to support students affected by it, check out the resources below: