Dems: Continuing the fight to combat bullying

October 21, 2015
By

October is National Bullying Prevention Month. Anything we can do to ensure the safety of all kids is welcome.

This includes Governor Branstad’s recently established office for bullying prevention at the University of Northern Iowa’s Center for Violence Prevention. The office will develop training on anti-bullying policies and investigating complaints; promote YourLifeIowa hotline, which offers resources on bullying and suicide; come up with guidelines to deal with cyberbullying; and encourage student leadership to prevent bullying and violence in schools.

We look forward to seeing how the Governor’s office for bullying prevention will keep our kids safe. At this point, there is no funding for the office or its work, or any requirement that schools use this new resource. In the meantime, I’ll continue pushing for consistent standards to stop bullying and respond to it when it happens.

A poll earlier this year showed that 73 percent of Iowans strongly support anti-bullying measures. In 2007, the Iowa Legislature first required school districts to adopt safe school policies to prevent harassment and bullying, but there’s still too much of it going on.

The 2014 Iowa Youth Survey found that 39 percent of students reported being bullied at school in the previous 30 days by other students calling them names, making fun of them or teasing in a hurtful way.

Ongoing harassment and bullying can devastate children, endanger their mental and physical health, and leave scars that last into adulthood. Social bullying is especially dangerous, causing depression, loneliness and anxiety.

Unfortunately, Iowa lacks data on bullying in schools because there’s no accountability for districts that do not file required reports and no agreed-upon standard for reporting.

That’s why we have continued working to ensure existing protections make a day-to-day difference for students. For example, Senate File 345 from the 2015 session would provide training for schools to investigate harassment and bullying, and to impose discipline. The bill was approved in the Iowa Senate on a strong bipartisan vote, but was not brought to a vote on the House floor, in spite of the Governor’s urging.

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Dems: Continuing the fight to combat bullying

October 21, 2015
By

October is National Bullying Prevention Month. Anything we can do to ensure the safety of all kids is welcome.

This includes Governor Branstad’s recently established office for bullying prevention at the University of Northern Iowa’s Center for Violence Prevention. The office will develop training on anti-bullying policies and investigating complaints; promote YourLifeIowa hotline, which offers resources on bullying and suicide; come up with guidelines to deal with cyberbullying; and encourage student leadership to prevent bullying and violence in schools.

We look forward to seeing how the Governor’s office for bullying prevention will keep our kids safe. At this point, there is no funding for the office or its work, or any requirement that schools use this new resource. In the meantime, I’ll continue pushing for consistent standards to stop bullying and respond to it when it happens.

A poll earlier this year showed that 73 percent of Iowans strongly support anti-bullying measures. In 2007, the Iowa Legislature first required school districts to adopt safe school policies to prevent harassment and bullying, but there’s still too much of it going on.

The 2014 Iowa Youth Survey found that 39 percent of students reported being bullied at school in the previous 30 days by other students calling them names, making fun of them or teasing in a hurtful way.

Ongoing harassment and bullying can devastate children, endanger their mental and physical health, and leave scars that last into adulthood. Social bullying is especially dangerous, causing depression, loneliness and anxiety.

Unfortunately, Iowa lacks data on bullying in schools because there’s no accountability for districts that do not file required reports and no agreed-upon standard for reporting.

That’s why we have continued working to ensure existing protections make a day-to-day difference for students. For example, Senate File 345 from the 2015 session would provide training for schools to investigate harassment and bullying, and to impose discipline. The bill was approved in the Iowa Senate on a strong bipartisan vote, but was not brought to a vote on the House floor, in spite of the Governor’s urging.

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