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State Lawmakers Push For Legislation Targeting Online Bullies

Ryan Poppe
San Antonio State Sen. Jose Menendez filing his online bullying legislation

The online bullying of students needs to stop. That’s the message from two San Antonio lawmakers who filed legislation in Austin today.

Nov. 14th is the first day the lawmakers can file bills for the upcoming session and they wanted to ensure David Molak’s story is a top priority.

In 2015, 16-year old Alamo Heights sophomore David Molak had just become an Eagle Scout.  He started the year with good grades and a girlfriend.  But Molak’s outlook on life quickly deteriorated when he became the target of online bullying.  At the state capitol Molak’s mother Maureen described how her son decided to change high schools, but the taunting didn’t stop. 

Credit Ryan Poppe
David Molak's parents speaking out about the death of their son at the state capitol.

“It was pretty consistent for a while, it would come and go but it would have the same tone, they would make fun of his personal appearance," Molak says.

In January David ended his life.  

Prior to his death his parents said they asked the school for help, but officials said there was little they could do because the bullying occurred online. 

Credit Ryan Poppe
Sen. Jose Menendez speaking at the state capitol about his new legislation, Senate Bill 179.

Now state Sen. Jose Menendez, a Democrat from San Antonio, wants to empower schools.  He’s filing legislation that will allow schools to subpoena computer information that could lead to the identity of online bullies. 

“I want bullies to know, cyber bullies, that they can’t just get away with it, that they can’t just hide because the law’s not sufficient.  We’re going to make the law sufficient enough so we can know who’s doing this bullying," Menendez says.

Senate Bill 179 which will be known as David’s Legacy would also create a first time misdemeanor penalty for minors caught using social media and online portals to harass or threaten other students.