School Safety Law Toolkit

2.1 Bullying

Bullying has been found to have an overwhelmingly adverse impact on school safety and security (e.g., higher levels of anxiety, depression, and sleep disorders; increased fear in the school environment; and interference with academic achievement). In 2011, Texas lawmakers took steps to the issue of bullying with the passing of House Bill 1942. In response, the Texas Education Code was amended to include §37.0832, which universally defines bullying for school districts and describes in detail the types of anti-bullying policies each school district shall include.

The TxSSC, understanding the importance of bullying prevention, has developed various resources to assist school districts.

TEC 37.0832 Bullying prevention policies and procedures.

This section covers the definition of bullying, adopting a bullying policy, and reporting bullying. (Law reference…)
This section was amended by the 85th Legislature. Pending publication of the current statutes, see S.B. 179, 85th Legislature, Regular Session, for amendments affecting this section.

TEC 37.218 Programs on dangers of students sharing visual material depicting minor engaged in sexual conduct.

This section explains that the Texas School Safety Center provides training on bullying issues. Visit the Events page for information about training events. (Law reference…)

SB 179 - "David's Law"

During the 85th Texas Legislature, SB 179 - "David’s Law" was passed and signed into law effective September 1, 2017. The newly enacted law relates to harassment, bullying and cyberbullying of a public school student, a charter school student or a minor and encouraging certain mental health programs for public school students; increasing a criminal penalty, and providing a civil remedy. The bill text and supporting information from David’s Legacy Foundation can be accessed below.

Download Senate Bill 179 Full Text

Download SB 179 'David's Law' Overview for Schools

Updated Bullying Checklist (Oct 2017)

The Texas School Safety Center has developed a bullying checklist for school to assist in determining if an action or actions constitute bullying (or cyberbullying) under the Texas Education Code. The checklist facilitates a step by step decision process that is mapped to the various components of the law. The checklist can be downloaded below.

Download Bullying Checklist (B&W Print Version)

Download Bullying Checklist (Full Color Version)

Applying the Bullying Checklist for Schools

The Texas School Safety Center has developed a series of hypothetical scenarios as a resource to provide further guidance, and act as an example, when using the Bullying Checklist for Schools. Each of the scenarios provides a hypothetical scenario and then applies each component of the checklist to the situation, ultimately determining if the action or actions meets the legal definition of bullying according to the Texas Education Code.

Download Scenarios for Applying the Checklist

For more information and resources, visit the Bullying topic page or the Videos section.