AUSTIN (KXAN) — This week lawmakers can begin to file bills for the 2017 legislative session. Numbers from the Centers for Disease Control show suicide is the second leading cause of death among teenagers.
“David’s Law” hopes to tackle the uptick of bullying caused suicides by putting punishments behind the laws, including punishments for parents of bullies.
David Molak would have turned 17 last month. He loved playing video games and keeping track of sports statistics. But he was bullied by his peers after school using social media website, texts, and mobile apps. His parents say that bullying led him to take his life last January.
“David could be anybody’s son, anybody’s brother, anybody’s cousin, anybody’s nephew. He’s just a normal kid just happened to be a little more sensitive than others,” said Matt Molak.
Now Matt and Maurine Molak push for David’s law, being filed Monday at the Texas Capitol. It would give schools the power to investigate off-campus bullying, creates an anonymous tip line, and it would create harsher punishment for students and their parents for bullying. Those we spoke with say punishment could be similar to paying a traffic ticket. But if a bullied child ends up taking their own life it would become a felony.
“It brings the parents in with some consequences to them if they’re not doing something about what their kids are up to,” said Matt.
At a conference for the National Behavioral Intervention Team Association they showed a video telling David’s story and spoke to the several hundred person crowd. They hope to bring Texas harassment laws into the 21st century.
“24 hours a day, seven days a week. There’s no hiding from it. It’s pervasive. It’s in their bedroom. They can’t get away from it and the fact that it’s shared by hundreds of people, multiple times, that’s what makes it so devastating to a child,” said Maurine.
They’re taking their message across the state and this week they’re in Austin.
State Senator José Menéndez, D-San Antonio, and Representative Ina Minjarez, D-San Antonio, plan to file the bill on Monday, Nov. 14 following a press conference at the capitol. In a press release, both lawmaker officers say they’re working with school officials and law enforcement and decided the current laws on the books are “not sufficient.”