Senate Bill 179: David's Law

David's Law (PDF - printable version)

David's Law relates to student harassment, bullying, cyberbullying, injury to or death of a minor; creating a criminal offenseEffective September 1, 2017.

Changes include:

  • Definition of bullying changed to
    • single significant act or pattern of actby one or more students directed aanother student thaexploits an imbalance of power
    • Include
      • Is sufficiently severe, persistent, or pervasive enough that the action or threat creates an intimidating, threatening, or abusive educational environment for a student
      • materially and substantially disrupts the educational process or the orderly operation of a classroom or school
      • Infringes on the rights of the victim at school and
      • Cyberbullying
    • Definition of Cyberbullying

Bullying that idone through the use of electronic communication, including through the usof a cellular or other type of telephone, a computer, a pager, a camera, electronic mail, instant messaging, text messaging, a social media application, Internet website, or other Internet-based communication tool

  • Bullying that occurs
    • On or is delivered to school property or to the site of a school-sponsored or school-related activity on or off school property
    • On a publicly or privately owned school bus or van being used for transportation of students to or from school or a school-sponsored or school-related activity
  • Cyberbullying that occurs
    • Off school property or outside of a school-sponsored or school-related activity if the cyberbullying
      • Interferes with a student's educational opportunities
      • Substantially disrupts the orderly operations of a classroom, school, or school-sponsored or school-related activity
  • Procedure for providing notice of an incident of bullying to a parent or guardian of thalleged victim on or before the third business day after the date the incident is reported; and to parent or guardian of the alleged bully within a reasonable amounof time after the incident
  • Procedures for student to anonymously report an incident of bullying
  • Additional pointsDavid's Law
    • allowschool districts to establish a districtwide policy related to bullying prevention and mediation
    • specifies the placement or expulsion of certain students for certain bullying behavior
    • specifies reports that school principals may make to local law enforcement
    • allows continuing education requirements for classroom teachers and principals to include instruction related to grief-informed and trauma-informed strategies
    • requires TEA to maintain a website with resources related to student mental health needs
    • amends the Health and Safety Code to expand the list of certain procedures that school districts may develop
    • amends the Civil Practice and Remedies Code to specify relief for cyberbullying of a childand to require that the Texas Supreme Court promulgate forms for use as an application for injunctive relief in suits relating to cyberbullying
    • amends the Penal Code to include certain actions within the offense of harassment