A proposed Texas Senate bill would give cyber bullies a new name, criminals. SB 179 will make cyberbullying a misdemeanor crime.
It's also referred to as David's Law after 16-year-old David Molak from San Antonio who took his life after months of harassment from classmates.
According to David's Law, school administrators will have to intervene and report any suspected cyberbullying cases.
The schools will inform the parents of the situation. Parents of the victims could also sue the cyberbully's parents if they chose not to stop the harassment when they could.
In 2012, Texas Association of School Boards created guidelines to punish students found cyberbullying their peers. Victims of cyberbullying could choose to transfer schools within their district.
There are school districts in Wichita Falls, like WFISD, that have a system to prevent bullying and cyberbullying.
"The [students] do a social contract with every class talking about how [they] are going to treat each other," Ashley Thomas WFISD community relations officer said."If a student feels another student is violating that student contract, they bring that to the teacher's attention and show them they aren't being respectful."
Administration at Christ Academy in Wichita Falls has already begun implementing some of the rules in David's Law.
"We can and will look at their history and text messages," Dr. Jerry Meadows said.
Because Christ Academy is a private school, the students and parents are required to sign paperwork giving consent to searches of their social media and cell phone.
"If we can get a change of behavior, true change of behavior, and it stops then we accomplished our purpose," Dr. Meadows said. "If we don't, they have to leave. We cannot provide this type of environment to other students."
There have been no cases of cyberbullying at Christ Academy but Dr. Meadows said they're prepared for it if or when it does.
"We have classes where we find out what it means to be a good digital citizen," Dr. Meadows. "We do it through our values training, our religious training."
Similar cyberbullying cases to Molak's occurred in Texoma like 14-year-old Tyler Andrew Garcia who made the same fateful decision. A lawsuit in Iowa Park is pending after Garcia's sued Iowa Park Consolidated School District.
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