Texas SB 179 Aims at Preventing Cyberbullying

The bill referred to as “David’s Law,” addresses ongoing concerns about cyberbullying.

David’s Law, or Texas SB 179, was named after the 16-year old high school student David Molak who committed suicide in January 2016 after being subjected to a particularly severe and relentless round of cyberbullying. David’s law classifies cyberbullying as a misdemeanor offense. The new law also has several other key provisions that charges schools with tasks intended to prevent cyberbullying and prevent cyberbullying for having such dire consequences as it did for David Molak.

David’s law, first and foremost, tasks schools with complying with new requirements laid out in SB 179. These requirements include adopting cyberbullying as part of their district bullying policies. Additionally, schools are required to notify a child’s parent if the student is a victim or alleged aggressor of bullying. Schools are also granted the power to investigate off-campus cyberbullying if they feel it materially affects the school environment. Schools are also to work with law enforcement officials when more serious cyberbullying situations present themselves. Additionally, the new law encourages schools to expand counseling and rehabilitation services for bullying victims and aggressors.

Effective as of September 1, 2017, SB 179 makes cyberbullying a misdemeanor offense. Amendments to the bill narrow actions that would make cyberbullying a more severe Class A misdemeanor. This type of charge will only apply when someone who perpetrates cyberbullying intended to provoke a victim into self harm or suicide. Another amendment removed language that would have allowed the victim’s families to recover monetary damages in court for physical, emotional, or mental injuries.

Cyberbullying is a complex issue and, as the law itself addresses, is integrally tied to mental health. Criminalizing cyberbullying will also present new complications. The criminal defense attorneys at Scott M. Brown & Associates are here to answer any questions you may have. If your child is facing cyberbullying charges, we are here to fight for you and your family. Contact us today by calling (281) 612-8241 or go online.

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