WOODBINE, Md. (FOX 5 DC) - A Woodbine mother is on her way to changing a Maryland law that she says will save lives.
Christine McComas’ daughter, Grace, took her life back in 2012 as a result of cyberbullying – and now – seven years later – McComas is taking her fight to the Maryland legislature to make sure people are protected.
McComas has fond memories of spending time in the garden with her daughter.
“She loved to be in the garden with me. I’m a big gardener,” she said.
McComas has been to a place no parent would ever dream of going.
“It’s the biggest nightmare that you can never wake up from,” McComas said. “She never went to another dance. She stopped playing her sports.”
Grace took her own life on East Sunday 2012 amid intense bullying.
“This was not a child that was at risk this was just you know, a kid who had everything to live for,” McComas said.
It was an action McComas couldn’t believe and couldn’t understand, but it was a moment that turned her life around.
McComas wanted to make sure the incident never happened again, so she lobbied the Maryland legislature and, in 2013, Grace’s Law was signed by Governor O’Malley.
The law imposed a $500 fine and a maximum jail sentence of one year.
But it also required that a person must continuously harass someone online for a long period of time – a law that drew criticism from the ACLU.
On Thursday, the Maryland Senate unanimously approved an upgrade to the law.
“Grace’s Law 2.0 is looking into seeing that it’s more of an act as opposed to speech. Because you choose to take those pictures,” McComas said.
It also carries a $10,000 fine, and a three-year sentence.
“If you took her name, Grace, G-R-A-C-E, It can stand for Give Respect And Compassion to Everyone. And so we would like to see more grace in the world,” McComas said.
The Maryland House now has to vote on the bill.
McComas said several delegates have expressed a need to pass the bill.
If the House passes the bill – it will go to the Governor’s desk to be signed into law.