Senate Bill 179, also known as "David's Law," addresses cyberbullying in state schools. The bill was signed on June 9, 2017, and went into effect on Septemeber 1, 2017.
What does David's Law do?
- It amends the Education Code regarding bullying to include cyberbullying. Both are now classififed as a criminal offense if it "is sufficiently severe, persistent or pervasive enough that the action or threat creates an intimidating, threatening, or abusive educational environment for a student."
- It creates specific requirements for schools, including incident reporting and notification processes that need to be in place.
- Under Section 37.0151 of the Education Code, schools are allowed to report conduct constituting assault or harassment to the police, which could result in a Class A misdemeanor.
- Class A misdemeanor, to electronically harass or cyberbully someone under age 18 through text messages, social media, websites or other means with the intent of causing them to commit suicide or harm themselves;
- Class A misdemeanor is punishable by a fine of not more than $4,000, confinement in a county jail for a term not to exceed one year, or both.
- Injunctive Relief (Sec .A129A.002) - A recipient of cyberbullying behavior, who is younger than 18 years of age at the time the cyberbullying occurs, or a parent of or a person standing in parental relation to the recipient may seek injunctive relief under this chapter against the individual who was cyberbulling the recipient, or if the individual is younger than 18 years of age, against a parent of or person standing in parental relation to the individual.
- A court may issue a temporary restraining order, temporary injunction, or permanent injunction appropriate under the circumstances to prevent any further cyberbullying.
Learn more about David: David's Legacy Foundation