The Bully Left Behind: Why David's Law Perpetuates the School-To-Prison Pipeline and is Inadequate to Serve the Needs of Texas Schools
22 Pages Posted: 14 Feb 2019
Date Written: February 1, 2019
In 2017, Texas passed “David’s Law,” a comprehensive anti-bullying and cyberbullying law that criminalizes bullying and cyberbullying. The implementation of this law, however, will have unforeseen consequences of youth in Texas who are reprimanded or prosecuted under David’s Law. Specifically, the law feeds the school-to-prison pipeline by sending students out of the classroom and into the criminal justice system. In an effort to respond to the mounting issue of bullying-related suicides, the Legislature passed the bill and gave little thought to its consequences. While criminalization may be appropriate in some instances, it is certainly not the answer for every student.
Instead of criminalizing this behavior, Texas schools should take a rehabilitative approach to helping its students correct the bullying behavior. With statistical evidence that shows that students with ADD, ADHD, anxiety, or depression are 3 times more likely to be labeled as a “bully” than a student who does not, it seems impractical that the Legislature wants to criminalize the same students it seeks to protect through Section 504 and the Americans with Disabilities Act. This Article proposes original language to the Texas Education Code that would implement the use of “bullying intervention teams” tasked with identifying, investigating, and recommending a course of action for an alleged bully that focuses on addressing their behavior through rehabilitative measures.
Keywords: David's Law, bullying, cyberbullying, cyber, bully, school, school-to-prison pipeline, pipeline, prison, rehabilitate, threat assessment, social science, team, mental health, ADD, ADHD, Section 504, ADA, bullies
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