'David's Law' aims to require school district cyberbullying policies

Bill named in honor of David Molak filed Monday in Texas Legislature

By Pilar Arias - Reporter

AUSTIN, Texas - Monday marked a day David Molak's family has been working toward since shortly after the 16-year-old took his own life in January.

"David's Law" was filed Monday afternoon in the Texas Legislature in Austin. The bill aims to prevent and combat cyberbullying by requiring school districts across the state to include cyberbullying policies in their district policies.

If passed, "David's Law" would also require notifying parents if their child is a victim of bullying or is the alleged aggressor.

"There's nothing that's going to bring David back," David's mother, Maurine Molak, said. "But what we can do in his legacy, is help other children and other families so that they don't ever go through something like this."

Maurine Molak, along with her husband, Matt Molak, see the filing of 'David's Law" bill as a major step in their fight to end cyberbullying.

Related: How a bill becomes law in Texas

"If we didn't have the community support behind us, I don't think we wouldn't be standing here today," Maurine Molak said.

Joined by state Sen. Jose Menendez and state Rep. Ina Minjarez, the Molaks once again shared their heartbreaking story of losing their son.

David's family said he was attending Alamo Heights High School in the fall of 2015 when he began to be attacked over several social media sites and through text messaging. Transferring schools wasn't enough to save the teen's life. David was found hanged in his family's backyard Jan. 4.

"I would like to tell other students to not sit by and watch it happen," Maurine Molak said. "They need to be able to be empowered to stand up and speak up and that their words really can make a difference in how a child feels."

Minjarez said cyberbullying is an epidemic in America that needs to be stopped.

"We, as legislators, have an obligation to make sure that we keep our children safe, to make sure that we deal with the problem at hand," she said.

Also on hand for the filing of the law was Leo Vasquez, a San Antonio father who said his son, who is battling cancer, overcame cyberbullying. Vasquez sais he doesn't want other children falling victim to cyberbullying. Vasquez said communication was key for his son while he was being bullied.

"I think that's a big part of the puzzle, for these kids not to feel that they have to internalize this and not share it with anybody, because that just makes the situation worse," Vasquez said.

Maurine Molak is asking parents to be vigilant regarding their child's use of technology.

If "David's Law" passes, it will require school districts to have an anonymous avenue for students who know about bullying to report it and will also give school districts the ability to investigate off-campus events and to collaborate with law enforcement on investigations.

"David's Law" is considered a companion bill because it's been filed in the Texas Senate and the Texas House.

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