Junior high and high school students from across the state rallied at the capitol today.
They came in support of Governor Branstad’s anti-bullying legislation. The bill would give schools new authority to investigate bullying on social media and to intervene to stop it. The governor’s office showed a promotional video in the statehouse rotunda, quoting students, teachers, and parents.
“Let’s end bullying in Iowa,” the advocates urged.
First Lady Chris Branstad calls bullying serious, harmful, and a public health hazard.
Students sported t-shirts proclaiming “End Bullying.” Marshalltown High School senior Cecilia Martinez says when bullying occurs over social media, it’s constant.
“If you have a phone you're always on it, looking at it, and checking it,” Martinez says. “It’s easy for a number of people to send streams of negative messages toward you. It’s hard to ignore.”
After statewide anti-bullying summits were held, the legislature last year failed to pass a bill. Lawmakers disagreed over notifying parents when bullying occurs. And they differed over how much to spend on anti-bullying training.
The governor’s bill encourages efforts to combat bullying such as a student mentoring program that was pioneered in the Sioux City school district.