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Gov. Abbott signs David's Law to combat cyberbullying

AUSTIN, Texas -- Gov. Greg Abbott has signed David's Law, a measure intended to fight back against cyberbullying.

<p>David Molak</p>

AUSTIN, Texas -- Gov. Greg Abbott has signed David's Law, a measure intended to fight back against cyberbullying.

This legislation is named in honor of 16-year-old David Molak from Alamo Heights, who took his own life after extensive cyberbullying in January 2016.

The law, which takes effect Sept. 1, requires school districts to include cyberbullying in their district bullying policies and notify a child’s parents if he or she is a victim or alleged aggressor of bullying, the governor's office said.

The law allows schools to combat and prevent cyberbullying by investigating off campus cyber-assisted bullying if it materially affects the school environment.

It also provides for schools to collaborate with law enforcement when serious or life-threatening cyberbullying situations arise.

In recognition of bullying as a mental health issue, David’s Law encourages schools to invest in counseling and rehabilitation services for both victims and aggressors of bullying.

David’s Law was sponsored in the Texas Senate by Sen. José Menéndez and in the Texas House of Representatives by Rep. Ina Minjarez.

"Cyberbullying is an epidemic in this country,” Menéndez said. “David’s law will focus on prevention efforts in schools while offering consequences to those who wish to exploit and harass our children on the Internet. The passage of David’s Law would not have been possible without the Molak family, the Vasquez family and so many other families who channeled their heartbreaking story into positive change."

“We are incredibly grateful to Gov. Abbott for signing David’s Law,” said Maurine Molak, David Molak’s mother and co-founder of David’s Legacy Foundation. “We also want to thank our San Antonio community for their incredible support throughout this entire process. This is just the beginning of our efforts to put an end to cyberbullying. We will continue to work with school districts, law enforcement and teenagers to promote and reward kindness, character and empathy among today’s youth.”

For more information, visit www.davidslegacy.org and www.facebook.com/davidslegacyfoundation.