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Student: Online Bullying is Constant

Photo by John Pemble
Governor Branstad pushes for anti-bullying legislation during his weekly press conference in the Capitol’s Rotunda. He is flanked by Lt. Governor Kim Reynolds, his wife Christine, and a number of teenage Iowa school students.";

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.”

Credit Photo by Joyce Russell
Students from Cardinal Community School District in Eldon visited the Statehouse today.

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.