September 1, 2017 A new law addressing cyber bullying went into effect called David’s Law. Named after a young man who endured cyberbullying regularly before committing suicide last year. This absolutely breaks my heart and I know alot of parents don’t like to talk about suicide but with Social Media we are forced to talk about and work hard to prevent bullying but in particular cyberbullying. His mother is such a courageous woman who working to help other parents from having to feel what she has had to feel from loosing a child to suicide. She has a anti-bullying campaign that I fully support and I think will change lives by talking about how we treat one another. The campaign includes taking a pledge to “To Never Use My Device As A Weapon”
“David’s Law is important because of what teachers and school administrators are seeing in their schools. ‘What has changed is the differences in what bullying looks like because of technology,’ says Kenisha Coburn, principal at Kealing Middle School. ‘There are a lot of verbal things and pictures that happen off campus when parents are sleeping … also things that used to be a one-time conflict have turned into a pattern. They keep coming up.'”Austin American-Statesman
Under David’s Law, Texas public schools will have the authority to address cyberbullying that occurs off-campus. Schools will be required to notify a bullying victim’s parents of a bullying incident within three business days after the incident is reported and must notify the parents of an aggressor within a reasonable amount of time. School procedures for reporting bullying incidents must include anonymous reporting for students. Schools will be able to expel students who engage in very serious bullying. This includes bullying that (i) encourages another student to commit suicide (i.e., suicide baiting), (ii) incites violence against another student, or (iii) involves releasing indecent photos of another student. Strong protections from civil or criminal liabilities will be given to schools and school personnel who report criminal bullying to law enforcement officials. There will be new provisions in the law to promote metal health education, including education about the effects of grief and trauma on a student’s mental health and learning. The role of school counselors will be expanded to include mediating interpersonal conflicts among students, including accusations of bullying.
David’s Law will make it easier to obtain an injunction (similar to a protective order) from a Texas court to prevent continual cyberbullying against a student. Victims will be able to have the court issue an injunction against not only the cyberbully, but also against the cyberbully’s parents, requiring those parents to take action to stop their child from cyberbullying. The Texas Supreme Court’s office will make easy-to-use forms available to the general public to allow parents to obtain an injunction against ongoing cyberbullying of their children without the need for hiring a lawyer.
The definitions in the harassment provisions of Texas criminal laws will be modernized to better include the current ways cyberbullies attack victims through smart phones and social media. Cyber-harassment against a child that includes suicide baiting or the violation of an injunction against cyberbullying will be a much more serious criminal offense than before, up to Class A Misdemeanor. Information from Davidslegacy.org website.
For more information: David’s Law on FB
http://www.davidslegacy.org/davidslaw-anti-cyberbullying-pledge/ Charryse Johnson Social Media Era Parenting Expert