SB 179 Summary

  • SB 179 - Bullying and Cyberbullying (2017 regular session)
    Menéndez

    Provides specific definitions for “bullying” and “cyberbullying.”

    Requires a school district to establish a procedure for providing notice of an incident of bullying, as defined in the statute, to a parent or guardian of an alleged victim “on or before the third business day after the date the incident is reported.” Maintains the current requirement that a school district notify the parent or guardian of an alleged bully “within a reasonable amount of time after the incident.”

    Requires a school district to establish a procedure to allow a student to anonymously report an incident of bullying.

    Allows a school district to establish a district-wide policy to assist in the prevention and mediation of bullying incidents between students.

    Allows a school district to place a student in a disciplinary alternative education program if the student engages in bullying that encourages a student to commit or attempt to commit suicide, incites violence against a student through group bullying, or without a student’s consent, releases or threatens to release intimate visual material of a minor or a student who is 18 years of age or older.

    Allows the principal of a public primary or secondary school, or another designated school employee, to make a report to a school district police department, a municipal police department, or the sheriff of a county if he has reasonable grounds to believe that a student engaged in conduct that constitutes an assault or harassment via repeated electronic communications under the Penal Code. Allows the name and address of each student who may have participated in the conduct to be included in the report.

    Provides immunity from civil or criminal liability to a person who voluntarily makes a police report. Provides immunity from civil or criminal liability or disciplinary action to a person who takes any action regarding the report to law enforcement.

    Provides immunity from suit to a school district, school personnel, and school volunteers for an act relating to the report to law enforcement, including acts under related policies and procedures.

    Defines a “mental health condition” as an “illness, disease, or disorder, other than epilepsy, dementia, substance abuse, or intellectual disability, that ... substantially impairs a person’s thought, perception of reality, emotional process, or judgment; or ... grossly impairs behavior as demonstrated by recent disturbed behavior.”

    Subjects open-enrollment charter schools to the bullying prevention policies and procedures, the right of a school to place a student in a disciplinary alternative education program, and the right to report to local law enforcement certain conduct constituting assault or harassment.

    Allows instruction regarding how grief and trauma affect student learning and how trauma-informed strategies support academic success to be included in the continuing education requirements for a classroom education teacher and a principal.

    Requires TEA, in coordination with the Health and Human Services Commission, to establish and maintain a website to promote resources regarding working with students with mental health conditions. Specifies four different types of information that must be included on the website.

    Requires a school district counselor to serve as an impartial, nonreporting resource for interpersonal conflicts and discord involving two or more students accused of bullying and cyberbullying.

    Allows the recipient of cyberbullying behavior or the parent or another person standing in parental relation to the recipient to seek injunctive relief against the person who was cyberbullying or against the parent or another person standing in parental relation to the individual who was cyberbullying.

    Requires the Texas Supreme Court to promulgate forms for use by individuals representing themselves seeking injunctive relief in suits involving cyberbullying.

    Earliest effective Date: September 1, 2017