Feeling Empowered Behind the Screen Now Results in Harsher Punishment

New to Texas, David’s Law Put in Place to Prevent Cyberbullying


Deana Trautz

With David’s Law students are now responsible for anything they post or text outside of school. Punishments can go up to a Class A misdemeanor resulting in a possible $4,000 fine and up to a year in jail.

Deana Trautz, Reporter

Cruel words used to be at the tip of our tongues, but now they are at the tip of our thumbs.

With one tap of a button, one can share, post, tweet or snap about anything they please. After the linking of cyberbullying to the suicide of 16-year-old David Molak in Texas, a new law has been put in place to put a stop to what used to be out of the schools’ hands.

With a simple promise to never use your device as a weapon, there will be less risk of cyberbullying. The David’s Legacy Foundation hopes that with this new law in place, less people will have to experience online harassment.

David’s law creates a protocol for cyberbullying among all of Texas when before it was the school’s individual responsibility to enforce policy specific to online bullying. It now does not matter whether one posts from school or from home, if it is reported, the student can be faced with consequence.

According to assistant principal Phillip Pearce, it is the school’s responsibility to step in regardless of when or where the bullying took place. This is because even bullying done from home could potentially affect students during the school day and he says it is best to cut it off when it begins. Regarding the APs’ jobs, Pearce says having a solid law put in place helps them handle bullying cases more efficiently.

“It will give us a better judgement on what we can do,” Pearce said. “Having consequences when at and also away from school, gives us a little bit more option to help.”

Pearce talked about how they consider the severity of each bullying case and use a flowchart with variables that help decide. This method is useful for most cases, but the when a situation called for further investigation, the school didn’t have many options. Now, David’s Law gives a school the right to team up with law enforcement in conducting a formal investigation into a cyberbullying case.

Punishment is decided on a case-by-case basis, ranging from a Class B to a Class A misdemeanor, up to a $4,000 fine and even up to one year in jail.

Examples of Class A misdemeanors:



-Harboring a runaway child

-Carrying weapon without permit

Having no prior law in place to provide consequence for outside of school affairs, David’s Law has put in place serious action. However, Pearce says that it will never be too severe if someone is at risk of taking their own life due to cyberbullying.

“I don’t think anything is too harsh, there is no place for bullying,” Pearce said. “We are all people and we should all be treated the same no matter what what we look like, what we do, or how we act.”

Students were shown a powerpoint including information on the new law, but some are still unclear on what it actually is. After explanation, vice president of the club No Place For Hate, senior Isbeth Guerra, says how she thinks cyberbullying does not seem like the main issue in our school.

“From what I have seen and noticed it is not really cyberbullying but instead verbal,” Guerra said. “But I think this could probably bring awareness and prevent people from doing it.”

Another senior from the club expresses her opinion on the punishments.

“I think online, people are more harsh in a way because they can be whoever they want to be,” Leff said. “The punishments should be like this because it is never worth a life.”

For more information on David’s Law, visit http://www.davidslegacy.org/