State Senator Releases First Draft of Anti-Cyberbullying Bill

First look into David's Law. Photo by News 4 San Antonio.

SAN ANTONIO -- It's a first look at a new anti-cyberbullying bill that could possibly become law in Texas next year.

Texas State Senator Jose Menendez has a first draft of David's Law, named in honor of former Alamo Heights High School student David Molak, who committed suicide in January after he was cyberbullied.

"A young person takes their life before they hit their prime, you hope it's not in vain," Menendez said. "I want to prevent any future suicides and I want cyberbullies to know they can't get away with it."

The goal of the law is to give school districts and law enforcement the tools they need to combat and prevent bullying.

First, the law would require school districts to include cyberbullying policies in their district policies on bullying.

Second, it would give schools the authority to investigate bullying even if it occurs off campus.

It would also allow school districts and law enforcement to collaborate on cyberbullying investigations.

Finally it would make electronic harassment of a minor a misdemeanor, thereby giving law enforcement the ability to subpoena websites and social media platforms in order to unmask anonymous users.

"They create identities for themselves and we have no way of knowing unless we get the identity of the IP user," he said.

Last week, the Bexar County District Attorney's office announced they didn't have enough evidence to file criminal charges on the bullies accused in David's case.

"I think this legislation, had it been in place, would have made it more probable the D.A.'s office could have had something from a legal perspective," Menendez said.

Menendez wants to hold cyberbullies accountable, but he also hopes the law would act as a deterrent.

"If we saw a bully bullying kids physically, we would put an end to it. Just because they're doing it behind a screen, doesn't mean they can get away with it," he added.

News 4 San Antonio reached out to the Molak family to find out what they think about David's Law.

They sent us this statement:

"We have reviewed the draft legislation and are extremely supportive of Senator Menendez' efforts to ensure that the laws on the books regarding cyberbullying have more teeth and hold perpetrators accountable.

No child should have to endure what our son did with parents having little, to no recourse.

This draft is very preliminary and will, of course, see many changes before it is actually filed as a bill in November, but we are committed to marshaling the resources necessary to see it become David's Law in the 2017 legislative session."

Senator Menendez wants to hear from you on the law.

If you want to weigh in on the law, call his office at 512-463-0126.

Or email: district26.menendez@senate.texas.gov

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