by Lauren Loveless | staff writer
In January of 2016, after months of being bullied on social media, Alamo Heights student David Molak took his life. In the time since then, his family has sought to make sure that other students could find protection from bullying, creating David’s Legacy and a new state law that aims to do just that.
“David’s Law is a complex legal document that increases our authority at a school level to investigate any type of bullying that exists,” Principal John Mehlbrech said.
The bill not only gives the school more control during school hours, but also increases their authority outside of school.
“David’s Law increases our authority to home, weekends, and during the summer months. It’s whenever somebody is purposefully intimidating or trying to sway another to do something they don’t want to do on a consistent basis,” Mehlbrech said.
David’s Law also gives the school the jurisdiction to look through the phones of the alleged bullies as they see fit. Although the law aides in punishing bullies, the problem will still exist.
“Bullying will always exist, because, there is always [going to] be somebody out there trying to intimidate somebody else. You know it’s like, will teasing go away? Will kids making fun of each other go away?” Mehlbrech said.
Mehlbrech hopes that this law will deter bullying, although unfortunately he thinks this will be a result of students seeing the consequences in action.
“I don’t think any law you put out there will eliminate the idea of bullying, but I think it will help [manage] it a little better as far as trying to educate students. When you go down this trail, you’re going to get into serious consequences,” Mehlbrech said. “I think it’s gonna take a couple of examples of how it works. You would think that kids would understand to not have it around because you’re gonna get in trouble; it’s not a slap on the wrist, it’s a serious issue, and I wish that more people would understand that.”
Still, awareness is Mehlbrech’s “go to” when it comes to bullying prevention.
“Awareness would be a better way to say that in order for others to be helping when they see bullying occurring instead of just watching it,” Mehlbrech said. “In fact, the North East website has a place you can report bullying and it identifies the different types of bullying and what you can do to help prevent the bullying.”