David’s Law

Click here to download a printable PDF summary of David’s Law.

Click here to read all of S.B. 179 David’s Law.

Education Code:
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.

Civil Code:
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.

Criminal Code:
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.

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