A series of town hall meetings addressing the problem of bullying in schools wrapped up in Marshalltown.
Governor Branstad says he hopes to take ideas from the forums to revise his anti-bullying legislation next year.
The governor, lieutenant governor, and first lady Chris Branstad led the events in Sioux City, Troy Mills, and Marshalltown, where about 40 people turned out. Chris Branstad has championed anti-bullying in her work with social service agencies.
“Bullying is serious. Bullying is harmful. It is a public health problem that has a lasting influence on our children,” Branstad says.
The first lady says kids are harmed whether they’re bullied in person or on social media. Marshalltown senior Cecilia Martinez says kids need to know how to use Facebook and other social media safely:
“Simply pushing a button doesn't make your profile private. There are ways around that,” Martinez says.
A bill mandating that schools report bullying to parents failed to pass the legislature last year. Marshalltown Superintendent Marvin Wade says schools are already addressing the problem, but a new law would force them to do more.
“ I'd rather see legislation that says you can do this, you have an obligation to do this, now go do it. Part of that is involving the parents,” Wade says.
Governor Branstad says next year’s bill may let students report bullying anonymously.