'David's Law' could change cyberbullying polices in school districts state-wide, if passed

'David's Law' could change cyberbullying polices in school districts state-wide, if passed

AUSTIN, TX (KAUZ) - A bill aimed at combating cyberbullying will soon face a vote on the Senate floor in Austin.Senate Bill 179, otherwise known as "David's Law", stems from the suicide of 16-year-old David Molak last January in San Antonio.

If passed, the bill would require school districts across the state to add cyberbullying policies into their district policies.

State Senator Jose Menendez of San Antonio is the author of SB 179. If passed, the bill would amend the state's Education Code, Civil Code and Penal Code.

In the Education Code, his office said, school districts across Texas would need to modernize their bullying policies to include cyberbullying and online harassment.

It would also require school districts to develop a system to anonymously report bullying and would give districts the ability to investigate off-campus bullying if it greatly affects the school environment.

In the Penal Code, this bill would make it a misdemeanor to electronically harass or cyberbully anyone under 18.

Lubbock resident Donna Webb, says she backs this bill because of personal experience.

"I was a victim myself, not necessarily of cyber, but I was a victim of bullying...if you get bullied in elementary, it reaches out all the way into your adult life and it robs you of your self-esteem, your self-confidence," Webb said. "And some people overcome it, others don't. Others take their lives."

For that reason, Webb said she would love to see 'David's Law' keep moving forward.

"I think it would be a really good thing if this David's Law would be passed, you know, they make it into law, that somebody is made accountable so that these children don't suffer like this," Webb said.

On the other side, Lubbock resident April Dye said she doesn't believe making this a law would help much.

"We need to quit making others responsible for not teaching our children how to behave and function in the world. People have forgotten how to be parents and want to blame other parents, children and schools," Dye said. "Making it a law will probably more than likely just get those defending themselves in trouble."

While Webb fully supports David's Law, she said she feels parents and schools need to work together to combat the problem.

"I think they should be at least half accountable, and let the parents be accountable," Webb said. "They need to be made aware of what's happening to the children in our schools."

Senator Menendez released a statement following the bill's passing through the Senate Committee on State Affairs calling this "an important day for Texas students and victims of cyberbullying."

The bill could face a vote on the Senate floor in Austin as early as next week.

KCBD reached out to the school districts in Lubbock but no one was available to speak with us as of Friday.

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