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Government/Politics

The Cyberbullying Bill Known As David's Law Passes Out Of Texas Senate

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Ryan Poppe
16-year old Alamo Heights teen David Molak

The cyber bullying bill known as David’s Law, named after Alamo Heights teen David Molak passed out of the Texas Senate on a unanimous vote Wednesday.   Despite some major changes to the bill, the Molak family is still happy with its passage.

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Credit Ryan Poppe
State Sen. Jose Menendez

The bill’s author, State Sen. Jose Menendez, a San Antonio Democrat read some of the texts, tweets and posts of student cyber bullies sent to other Texas teens.

“Congratulations, you managed to suspend my ability from Twitter, but I’m back, there’s nothing you can do.  You should be dead."  In further posts he goes on to say, "matter of fact, you know what let me give you ideas on how you should kill yourself," Menendez reads.

At the start of last year, after receiving a string of messages just like this, 16-year old David Molak took his own life.  To the critics of his bill, Menendez says he understands bullying is rarely the root cause of a teen suicide but he told his fellow senate colleagues that doing nothing was also not the answer.

Senate Republicans made changes to the bill before its passage.  It no longer requires school districts to report all incidents of cyber bullying to law enforcement.  It does still however impose criminal penalties against student cyber bullies that make direct physical threats to another student.

David Molak’s mother Maureen Molak, who attended Wednesday’s senate vote says the bill sends a message to other victims of cyber bullying that they are not alone and will not be ignored.

“For us, it was to be able to tell everybody that we’ve got to take a strong stance against cyber bullying. Everyone knew it was an issue and we needed to do something," Molak says.

The senate’s cyber bullying bill now awaits the passage of its House companion, which is expected to come to the House floor for a vote next week.