New San Antonio Law Case May Be the First Filed Under Anti-Bullying 'David's Law'

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A new lawsuit alleges a student at Hill Middle School was subjected to online ridicule. - COUERTESY OF HILL MIDDLE SCHOOL
  • Couertesy of Hill Middle School
  • A new lawsuit alleges a student at Hill Middle School was subjected to online ridicule.
A San Antonio family has filed what may be the first lawsuit under "David's law," a 2017 Texas anti-bullying law named for Alamo Heights student David Molak, who killed himself after being harassed online.

The law, championed by State Sen. José Menéndez of San Antonio, made it a crime to bully anyone under the age of 18 via the Internet or text message.

The suit, filed today in Bexar County district court by parent Derek Rothschild, alleges his son, a student at Hill Middle School in North East ISD, was subjected to online ridicule that made him a target for both students and school staff.

An online discussion asked Hill students "who is likely to shoot up the school," and participants voted on Rothschild's son, identified only by initials in the lawsuit, according to the suit's claims. Over the next few days, the student was bullied and mocked at school and ultimately punished by officials over an "unrelated comment" that was taken as a threat, the filing also alleges.



"Giving some the label of school shooter is probably worst thing you can do in today's climate," said Justin Nichols, the plaintiff's attorney. His database searches have turned up no other suits filed big Texas cities that cite "David's Law," he added.

The Rothschild boy's punishment for the alleged threat included 15 months in an alternative school, according to Nichols. However, the student has since withdrawn to be homeschooled.

In an email statement, NEISD spokeswoman Aubrey Chancellor said students who make threats face "serious disciplinary consequences." However, she declined specific comment on the suit since the district is not named as a defendant.

 

Not yet, anyway.

The suit is filed against “Jane Doe(s) and John Doe(s),” but Nichols said he will update the filing to include the names of the alleged bullies' parents once they come out in discovery. The district also could be named, depending on how it reacts to the suit, he added.

The family is seeking $50,000 in damages, alleging the incident put their child through mental anguish and damaged his reputation.

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