Crandall, TX – A small north Texas town has become the first in the state of Texas to criminalize bullying.
The Crandall City Council unanimously voted to make bullying a misdemeanor offense on Monday, KLUV reported.
Suspects who are convicted under the new ordinance face a fine of up to $500, according to KXAS.
“All people growing up through any era of time has been bullied somewhere, in some time, [or] we know somebody that has been,” Crandall Mayor Danny Kirbie told KLUV. “I think we as Crandall, we’re going to take a step to try to move forward to how can we fix it.”
It is unclear how the new ordinance will affect school campuses.
“It’s brand-new for us,” Crandall Police Chief Dean Winters told KTVT. “We’re glad to have it. We’re going to be learning what we can specifically do and try to work with the school district.”
The state of Texas has anti-bullying measures in place, in the form of “David’s Law,” which was passed in 2017 and updated the law to include cyberbullying, according to the Texas School Administrators’ Legal Digest.
It also changed the old law’s definition of bullying from a pattern of acts to “a single significant act.”
But some people think the state law isn’t enough and hope local ordinances will fill in the gaps.
Crandall resident Audrey Hirth, 16, said she was forced to change schools due to being bullied by her peers, KTVT reported.
“People would text me and sometimes they’d tell me to kill myself,” Hirth told the news outlet.
“I ended up hurting myself because I felt, like, worthless, and like everyone hated me,” she explained.
Hirth said she is still working with a counselor to deal with her traumatic experiences.
“I’m glad something’s being done,” she said of the new law. “But I just feel like kids will still do it.”