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New laws, including David’s Law, take effect

 

davids law

 

 

On Sept. 1, 60 new laws will go into effect in the state of Texas with two that have ties to A&M, David’s Law and the Hands-Free Law.

David’s Law, or Senate Bill 179, requires an anti-cyberbullying policy in school districts and will establish a precedent for allowing further investigation in the matter. Additionally, the Hands-Free Law, or House Bill 62, will ban texting and driving statewide. Governor Greg Abbott signed both into action in June.

Chris Molak, David’s brother and Class of 2017, told The Battalion last semester that he hopes this law will encourage people to take a stand against cyberbullying.

“I hope for one, it shows those who have been affected negatively by cyber abuse and harassment, let them know that this kind of thing shouldn’t be tolerated,” Chris said. “Also, I hope it mainly serves as a deterrent for parents to get involved with their kid’s lives, and actually feel like there could be some repercussions if their children misbehave, in the ways that we couldn’t pursue legally the first time around, so we’re trying to just create a precedent for families to go through.”

Maurine Molak, David’s mother and co-founder of David’s Foundation, said the new law holds the opportunity to be effective not only in Texas, but across all states.

“We’re hoping that other states will look at this as a model law and be able to use it because it is comprehensive, a lot of states just felt like it was the school district’s responsibility to address this,” Maurine said. “And we felt like it’s not just a school issue, and it’s not just a parental issue, and it’s not just a legal issue. It is all of those people working together, it is a community response to an epidemic, and we all have to get involved in this issue.”

Regarding David’s Law taking effect, Maurine said the kids and parents of this generation will play a significant role in making a change in society.

“A lot of the problem is everything is being done through screen and you’re not seeing the person on the other end, and so a lot of the youth have lost that ability for empathy and being able to understand that somebody else has been hurt because you’re not seeing that person’s face,” Maurine said. “It’s going to be important for them to be part of the solution.”

To raise awareness, the David’s Law Foundation began a sticker campaign, where each sticker has an anti-bullying pledge with a phrase that says, “I pledge to never use my device as a weapon.” As of now, Maurine has sent over 120,000 stickers across Texas, including entire school districts.

“It’s a symbol, ‘I will not be that person. I will not be that cyberbully, and I will stand up for somebody if I see somebody being a target,’ Maurine said. “It’s all about raising awareness and bringing it out into the light, but this is a very serious issue. We just can’t brush it under the rug anymore.”

Maurine hopes that David’s Law will be more than  a legal regulation, but rather something that impacts the world for years to come.

“And having a visual sign, a reminder about it will hopefully slow people down. That they will think before they send. That they will remember David and they’ll remember that there’s a soul behind every screen,” Maurine said. “And that you never know what day the person on the other end or what battle that person is fighting.”


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