SAN ANGELO, Texas — Central High School Principal Bill Waters issued a public letter explaining how the CHS administrators were looking into several Instagram accounts made by students, calling the accounts “negative, derogatory, cruel and mean.”
Since the letter from Waters was distributed, the San Angelo Independent School District issued a statement addressing the issue, saying in part:
"Earlier this week, Principal Bill Waters addressed cyberbullying in a letter noting the critical role parents and guardians play in the lives of our students. SAISD will continue to do our part, while also encouraging families to be informed about Internet safety, to monitor your student’s online activity, and to talk with your student about the appropriate use of social media. Activity rising to the level of cyberbullying and/or harassment may result in school disciplinary action in accordance with the SAISD Student Code of Conduct and/or criminal charges by law enforcement."
With the increase of internet usage nationwide, Christoval High School Principal John Choate said while it’s difficult to keep up with everything your child does online, parents should always monitor their children's social media activity.
“Students exist in their social media world almost entirely separate from us adults and it's really really tough for not only parents but principals and teachers. We ask parents to talk to their kids, know what social media sites if they can figure out what social media sites they’re on,” Choate said.
Cyberbullying affected Maurine Molak's family forever.
David Bartlett Molak, son of Maurine and Matthew Molak, committed suicide at his family's home Jan. 4 2016, after months of being cyberbullied.
Over a year after his death, David’s Law passed in the State of Texas. The law allows schools to combat and prevent cyberbullying by empowering them to investigate and address off-campus cyber-assisted bullying if it materially affects the school environment.
“David’s Law” requires school districts to include cyberbullying in their district bullying policies and notify a child’s parents if he or she is a victim or alleged aggressor of bullying. It also allows for schools to collaborate with law enforcement when serious or life-threatening cyberbullying situations arise.
They also created the David’s Legacy Foundation. The goal of the foundation is to enforce the repercussions of cyberbullying and bullying as a whole.
“Since this law has been passed, law enforcement can subpoena Snapchat, Instagram, TikTok, or whatever platform it is to be able to get the username and the IP address. In the world that we live in today, it is 24/7 and students don’t have an avenue to get away with it because they are so connected with their devices,” Molak said.
Even though David's death was sudden and tragic, his parents want other parents to use this website and contact them with any concerns they have and help children in need.
If you or someone you know is hurting, please contact the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 800-273-8255 or Text TALK to 741741 for anonymous help and guidance.