Abilene, Wylie school districts implement online anti-bullying tools
ABILENE, Texas - Both Wylie and Abilene independent school districts are keeping up with a new Texas law that requires a way for students to report cyber bullying, and now school officials are authorized to address bullying happening off campus. The law is named David's Law, after a 16-year-old who took his own life in 2016 as a result of constantly being harassed by a group of students. This law took effect September 1 and it classifies cyber bullying as a criminal offense. It can begin as a class B misdemeanor, which constitutes up to six months in jail, and can rise as high as a class A misdemeanor, which can mean up to a year in jail. School officials are also required to notify parents of bullying victims within three days after a report is made. Wylie ISD is using Campus Eye, an online platform and an app for reporting cyber bullying. People can upload photos and videos as evidence. Wylie ISD Assistant Superintendent Mitch Davis said now they can help more students. "We can work on situations [where] the cyber bullying was outside of school, which in the past we had no connection to, or no way or any authority to do anything about it," Davis said. Abilene ISD also created a space on its website for people to report cyber bullying. Two mothers who experienced the effects of bullying on their kids firsthand created a Facebook page called Parents Against Bullying Abilene, where parents can share their stories. Jaycena Shaw said her 11-year-old son was walking home from school one day when two boys approached him and shot him in the back of the neck with an aerosol pistol. Then they threatened him. "Little boys came up and put the aerosol pistol to his head and told him if he told anyone, next time it was going to be a real gun," Shaw said. Lisa O'Neal said the bullying became such a problem for two of her kids that one of them tried to commit suicide. "He jumped off a two-story building and he ended up being instituted, but he's better now and we got him the counseling he needed. We moved him schools and I just didn't want to repeat that again with my daughter," O'Neal said. These moms said they are hopeful that David's Law will raise awareness to this big issue. "I'm sure it's not going to end it. It's going to be everywhere, but maybe, you know, people can start realizing that it's out there and things can be done about it," Shaw said.