San Antonio City leaders, along with scores of local teens, stood on the steps of City Hall on August 16 and took a pledge against cyberbullying.
Among those present at Wednesday’s press conference were San Antonio Mayor Ron Nirenberg, State Sen. José Menéndez, Police Chief William McManus, City Councilwoman Ana Sandoval and City Councilman Clayton Perry.
The “David’s Law Pledge” is part of a campaign to bring awareness to David’s Law, a new state law that makes it a Class A misdemeanor to electronically harass or cyberbully someone under age 18 through text messages, social media, or websites. Those who take the pledge promise not to use their cell phone or computer as a weapon for cyberbullying.
The law is named after David Molak, a 16-year-old Alamo Heights High School student who committed suicide after being bullied by classmates on social media over his physical appearance.
Sen. Menéndez introduced the legislation in the Senate and State Representative Ina Minjarez did the same in the House. The law goes into effect on September 1.
“The David’s Law pledge, although intended for youth, allows folks to take ownership of their online identities by promising that they will not cause harm to others through bullying, especially through their digital devices,” Molak’s mother, Maurine, said at the event.
“Cyberbullying is no longer a cruel game to be played by kids who don’t like somebody. It’s now a criminal offense, so, kids, think before you text. It could wind you up in jail and ruin the rest of your life,” Chief McManus said during his remarks.
During the press conference, the David’s Legacy Foundation unveiled a sticker that teens can put on the back of their cellphone as a reminder not to use the device for cyberbullying. The sticker will be distributed in schools as a way to spread the Foundation’s message.
“The reality is that every one of us here need to be a role model,” Sen. Menéndez said. “We have to all take a strong stance against bullying by everybody.”