New anti-cyberbullying law takes effect in Texas [KTBS, 09/10/2017]

There’s a new law in Texas to help protect children and teens from cyberbullying.

“David’s law,” which recently went into effect, will allow school districts and prosecutors to have more power in the fight against cyberbullying both on or off campus.

According to teen safe statistics in the U.S., 87 percent of teens have witnessed some form of cyberbullying during adolescence and about 34 percent have been actual victims.

Liberty Eylau High School Senior Hayden Turner says he recognized the problem and helped create an anti-bullying club called “STAND,” which is an acronym for Stand Together and Never Discriminate” at the middle school and high school campuses.

“If we can get aware of it and help people realize that cyberbullying is the same thing as if you were to say mean things in real life, maybe it wouldn’t happen,” said Hayden Turner, Liberty Eylau High School Senior.

While the club and a reporting system is already in place, Liberty Eylau High School Principal Kendrick Smith says the new law will now give administrators even better tools to address the issue both on and off campus.

“Before anything that took place off campus we really didn’t have a whole lot of leg to stand on when trying to deal with things, but now it gives us a little more of a backbone, so that we can address those issues,” said Smith.

Districts can also take legal steps against parents whose children are involved in bullying someone on the internet.

Texarkana, Texas ISD Superintendent Paul Norton says the law will engage parents to be more involved when it comes to their child’s use of social media.

“The parents can be facing issues, or criminal involvement if they don’t monitor their child on social media. It’s scary, but it’s what we’re suppose to do as parents,” explained Norton.

The new law is named after 16-year old David Molak of San Antonio, who killed himself after he was bullied, humiliated and harassed online.

According to “David’s Law,” parents can be charged with a Class “A” Misdemeanor if their child under the age of 18 bullies someone to the point of suicide.