Effective September 1, 2017, Senate Bill 179, commonly known as “David’s Law,” expands the definition of “bullying” under the Texas Education Code and clarifies that the definition of bullying includes cyberbullying. The bill now gives the school the discretion to punish students for off-campus bullying that is delivered to school property or to the site of a school-sponsored or school-related activity; occurs on a publicly- or privately-owned school bus or vehicle being used to transport students; or is cyberbullying that interferes with a student’s educational opportunities or substantially disrupts the orderly operation of a classroom, school, or school-sponsored or school-related activity.
Additionally, the new law allows parents to seek legal relief to stop and/or prevent cyberbullying of a minor, and makes it a Class A misdemeanor if a person engages in electronic harassment of a minor if the offense was committed with the intent that the recipient commit suicide or cause serious bodily injury to himself/herself. Schools now have the authority to expel or place in Disciplinary Alternative Education Program (DAEP) a student who engages in bullying that encourages suicide, incites violence through group bullying, or releases or threatens to release intimate visual material. If a student believes he/she has been a victim of cyberbullying/bullying, or if a teacher or other school personnel have knowledge about an incident of cyberbullying/bullying, the information should be shared immediately with a campus administrator.
Students and parents may also use Lake Travis ISD’s Cavs Who Care Tip Line, our anonymous incident reporting tool established in response to the provisions under “David’s Law.” The tip line is available as an application on each campus website as well as on the district website. The tip line is also available on the LTISD mobile app. Students and parents may submit reports on bullying, drugs, fighting, harassment, personal crisis, safety risk, threat, vandalism, or weapons. District and school administrators will receive a copy of the submitted tip and are responsible for responding to the tip, if sufficient information is provided. The Cavs Who Care Tip Line ensures that Lake Travis ISD has a system in place for students and parents to report bullying and other safety concerns without fear of being identified.
Please note, the Cavs Who Care Tip Line is not a 24-hour crisis hotline and will only be monitored during school days and school hours. In case of an issue requiring immediate assistance, users are highly encouraged to call 911 or the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255).