New legislation criminalizes cyberbullying

Davids Law was supported by the Davids Legacy Foundation, an organization created by Molaks parents to spread awareness and support.

courtesy of David's Legacy Foundation

David’s Law was supported by the David’s Legacy Foundation, an organization created by Molak’s parents to spread awareness and support.

Alyssa Pavelka, Staffer

    David’s Law, a new Texas law criminalizing cyberbullying, is a result of 16-year old David Molack’s suicide in January 2016 due to months of cyberbullying. Molack’s parents created David’s Legacy Foundation, a non-profit organization dedicated to terminating cyberbullying by educating students about the negativity that cyberbullying can cause. They send out encouragement to the loved ones of the victims, spread kindness, and support legislation prohibiting cyberbullying against minors.

    Senator José Menéndez worked closely with Molack’s parents in creating David’s Law to help curb teen suicide. The bill states that cyberbullying is a misdemeanor, meaning the court can be brought in and that schools are required to report and intervene. David’s Law also allows the victim or their parents to sue the parents of the bully if they knew but didn’t intervene.

    “Nobody needs to go through that horrendous, horrendous stuff we’ve heard about, but if we really want to make a difference, we don’t have to wait until we have 50 kids already on social media saying these things,” Josette Saxton said in an interview with The Texas Tribune. “We need to make sure we prevent the kids from ever getting there.”

    Menéndez believes that prevention is not the full solution and that punishment should be allowed. Our school’s students have pulled forth their own thoughts on David’s Law and what it entails.

     “I think it’s a law we should have,” sophomore Laurin Mason said. “It will impact our society in a good way as in helping those victimised to bullying.”

  Mason is not the only one who feels that David’s law would be useful to our community as the law impacts such a wide range of people.

  “It’s easy nowadays to compromise social media and ruin someone’s life,” senior Henry Blake said. “I think punishment is good because most teens laugh in the face of authority. This would show them it’s wrong and that they can’t get away with it.”

  The parents and loved ones for both the bullied and the bully are included in David’s Law simultaneously. That is why the victim has the right to sue the antagonizer and their parents, if the parents knew about the bullying.

    “I wouldn’t change the law,” freshman Zachary Bann said. “Parents should be allowed to sue the bully and their parents because of the mental and possible physical harm they caused the victim.”

  This doesn’t just affect the victim but their family and friends if such a thing as cyberbullying would cause them to lose a loved one through suicide.

   “I don’t want another family to deal with heartbreak,” Menéndez said in an interview with The Texas Tribune. “This thing’s an epidemic right now, and I think we need to make a strong statement.”