Cyberbullying means bullying arising from a pattern of acts or one significant act that is done through the use of any electronic communication device, including a cellular or other type of phone, a computer, a camera, electronic mail, instant messaging, text messaging, a social media application, and Internet website, or any other internet-based communication tool.
Where does the law apply?
- Bullying that occurs on or is delivered to a school property or to the site of a school-sponsored or school-related activity on or off of school property.
- Bullying that occurs on a publicly or privately owned school bus or vehicle 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 or substantially disrupts the orderly operation of a classroom, school, or school-sponsored or school-related activity.
Is cyberbullying protected free speech? NO
How can bullying and cyberbullying be punished?
- A school can remove a student who is engaging in bullying activity from class and place them in a disciplinary alternative education program (DAEP) or expel them if they encourage a student to commit or attempt to commit suicide, incite violence against a student through group bullying, or release or threaten to release intimate visual material of a minor or student who is 18 years of age or older without the student’s consent.
- Under David’s Law, if a person commits an offense under the cyberbullying provision of the Harassment Statute (Section 42.07 of the Texas Penal Code), it is a Class A misdemeanor (rather than merely a Class B) if
- The offense was committed against a child under 18 years of age with the intent that the child commit suicide or engage in conduct causing serious bodily injury to the child; or
- The person has previously violated a temporary restraining order or injunction issued under the new civil provisions in David’s Law.
- For other forms of bullying, cyberbullying, and harassment, the GISD Student Code of Conduct will apply.
NOTE: When applicable, bullying, cyberbullying, and harassment will be reported by the school to the proper authorities for possible criminal prosecution.
What are the civil remedies for cyberbullying?
- Temporary restraining orders against the cyberbully
- An injunction against the cyberbully to stop the cyberbullying
- An injunction against the parents of the cyberbully, requiring the parents to take action to stop their child from cyberbullying
(The red ellipsis symbol serves as a reminder of the dangers of cyberbullying. By placing this sticker on my phone or computer,
I pledge to NEVER use my device as a weapon
David’s Law aims to end cyberbullying in Texas. Visit davidslegacy.org to learn how you can make a difference.)
Take the Pledge: “I pledge never to use my device as a weapon.”
Other helpful links:
Top 10 Forms of Cyberbullying
Top 10 Things to Think About Before You Post
Digital Citizenship: How Easily Things Go Viral
5 Ways to Stop Cyberbullying