Cyber Bulling Laws in Texas and Texas Schools
Texas House Bill 2003, an act creating the offense of online harassment, and more recently House Bill 1942 have addressed the problem of cyber bullying, a type of cyber crime, in Texas in general, and more specifically incidents involving minors in the Texas school system. House Bill 2003 makes it an illegal act of fraud to use another persons' identity to post messages or to create an online presence. The person committing this offense can be prosecuted if it is proven that this was done without permission and with the intent to defraud. This internet harassment law also applies to e-mails, instant messages and text messaging.
More recently House Bill 1942 has redefined cyber bullying, in Chapter 37 of the Texas Education Code. It also provides mandates that each school district adopt a policy of prevention, training and reporting of incidents of bullying.
- Definition to include bullying by electronic means and,
- conduct that occurs on school property, at a school-sponsored or school-related activity, or in a vehicle operated by the district
- A situation that exploits an imbalance of power between the student perpetrator and the student victim through written or verbal expression or physical conduct
- Students engaging in bullying can be transferred to another classroom or campus
- Teachers and staff training on all aspects of bullying
- Provide a policy from investigation to reporting of incidents
- Exploits an imbalance of power between the student perpetrator and the student victim through written or verbal expression or physical conduct
- Prohibits retaliation against anyone "who in good faith provides information concerning an incident of bullying"
- Establishes a procedure for notifying a parent of the victim and the bully
- Establishes the actions a student should take to obtain assistance and intervention in response to bullying
- Sets out the available counseling options for the victim, witness to an incident of bullying or the bully him/herself
- Establishes a procedure for reporting and investigating a reported incident of bullying.
Penalties for Cyber Bulling in Texas
Penalties resulting from conviction of cyber bullying can range from a Class A Misdemeanor up to a 3rd degree felony. There are many factors involved in proving this conviction. The criminal history of the offender is considered in determining the severity of sentencing. Misdemeanor violations will most likely include fines and community service but a felony charge can mean 2 to 10 years in prison.
Being accused of cyber bullying or online harassment should be taken seriously. There are many aspects involved in prosecuting this type of criminal activity and should you or your child find yourself in this situation you need a criminal defense attorney familiar with the Williamson County Justice System, the juvenile justice system and the laws surrounding this type of crime. Contact The Dick Law Firm for a free and confidential consultation on with this type of problem as well as any criminal defense needs.