City leaders in the Kaufman County town of Crandall passed a new anti-bullying ordinance.
"I'm very proud of what the Council has done, standing up, taking the first step," said Crandall City Manager Jana Shelton. "It's something that bothers everyone. It affects families. It affects children. It affects everyone in our community."
Crandall father, Coy Hirth, got the ball rolling for the ordinance after he told the mayor about his daughter.
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"She just couldn't get away," Hirth said, talking about the years he said his daugher, Audrey, was bullied to the point of self-harm. "She was cutting herself. She overdosed."
Hirth said 16-year-old Audrey is doing better now with counseling and a change of schools. She will graduate this year. A school district spokeswoman said the district supports the city's efforts to stop bullying.
Some studies show nearly half of all students between 4th and 12th grade report being bullied at some time. Bullying is not limited to children.
"We're looking to address this issue that's a nationwide issue," Crandall Police Chief Dean Winters said. "This is one of those things that it's not just a physical presence, it's in the cyber world as well, and I think that's part of the reason it's important for us to have this."
City leaders call bullying a serious public health and safety issue. The ordinance makes it a misdemeanor offense to bully or cyberbully anyone. Anyone found in violation of the new law can be fined $500.