Gov. Greg Abbott signs anti-cyberbullying legislation 'David's Law'

    SB 179, also known as David's Law named for David Molak, a local student who took his own life at just 16 years old, has passed with majority House votes and a unanimous Senate vote. It now heads to Gov. Greg Abbott's desk for signing. His family says he was tortured by cyberbullies from Alamo Heights High School. (File photo)

    Gov. Greg Abbott signed Senate Bill 179, also known as David's Law, into law on Friday.

    "Cyberbullying is an epidemic in this country,” said Sen. Menéndez. “David’s law will focus on prevention efforts in schools while offering consequences to those who wish to exploit and harass our children on the Internet. The passage of David’s Law would not have been possible without the Molak family, the Vasquez family and so many other families who channeled their heartbreaking story into positive change."

    The law is aimed at combating and preventing cyberbullying. It was named after 16-year-old Alamo Heights High School student David Molak who took his own life in January 2016 after enduring relentless cyberbullying.

    “We are incredibly grateful to Gov. Abbott for signing David’s Law,” said Maurine Molak, David Molak’s mother and co-founder of David’s Legacy Foundation. “We also want to thank our San Antonio community for their incredible support throughout this entire process. This is just the beginning of our efforts to put an end to cyberbullying. We will continue to work with school districts, law enforcement and teenagers to promote and reward kindness, character and empathy among today’s youth.”

    According to a news release:

    Effective Sept. 1, 2017, David’s Law addresses the need for Texas laws to keep pace with evolving technology. It requires school districts to include cyberbullying in their district bullying policies and notify a child’s parents if he or she is a victim or alleged aggressor of bullying. The law allows schools to combat and prevent cyberbullying by investigating off campus cyber-assisted bullying if it materially affects the school environment. It provides for schools to collaborate with law enforcement when serious or life-threatening cyberbullying situations arise. In recognition of bullying as a mental health issue, David’s Law encourages schools to invest in counseling and rehabilitation services for both victims and aggressors of bullying.

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