Gov. Terry E. Branstad and Lt. Gov. Kim Reynolds today announced additional details regarding the second Governor's Bullying Prevention Summit, to be held on Monday, Nov. 4, at Hy-Vee Hall in Des Moines.
Tickets are still available through Saturday, Oct. 19, at http://preventbullying.iowa.gov. Iowans are encouraged to sign up prior to the deadline. This year's theme is "Mission Possible: Stepping Up the Response," and is a follow-up to the governor's sold-out inaugural 2012 Bullying Prevention Summit, which drew about 1,100 students and adults to focus on community involvement in preventing bullying.
Today the administration announced that in addition to previously announced details, attendees and participants are encouraged to use #IowaUnited as the official Twitter hash tag for the summit.
Also announced today is that in conjunction with the #IowaUnited effort, attendees will each receive an "Iowans United Against Bullying" wristband to take back with them to wear in their schools and communities. The wristband is pictured here: https://governor.iowa.gov/wp-content/uploads/2013/10/Iowans-United-pic.jpg
The registration packet for each attendee will also include a "Mission Possible" t-shirt to help send the message that Iowans are working together to better address the problem bullying in their schools and communities.
"We still have a lot of work to do to eliminate bullying within our schools and ensure our children feel safe at school," said Gov. Branstad. "Iowans share a commitment to helping young people act responsibly and treating others with respect and dignity. Those are core values that shape the culture of Iowa, and we all need to work together to instill these values within our young people."
The purpose of this year's summit is to explore the practical next steps to better address the pervasive problem of bullying.
"Many schools and communities have been working for some time to better address the pervasive problem of bullying. We are grateful for their work, and want to encourage it," said Reynolds. "We also want to encourage schools that have not been as involved in bullying prevention to explore what they can do."
The 2012 Iowa Youth Survey reported that 57 percent of students said that in the last 30 days they had been bullied at school in a variety of ways. That was up from 50 percent in 2010. Growing awareness that bullying should not be tolerated may be behind the increase, as well as new challenges presented by the Internet and social media. The governor says we all need to work together to reverse the trend.
The summit's keynote speaker is Emily Bazelon, who is the author of "Sticks and Stones: Defeating the Culture of Bullying and Rediscovering the Power of Character and Empathy."
The summit will include sessions on how both students and adults can make a difference. Participants will explore what makes for good legal policy, plus other kinds of support schools need to better deal with bullying.
The governor's office is partnering with the Iowa Hall of Pride in promotion of the summit, which includes a video contest. More than two dozen videos were submitted by school districts before the Oct. 10 deadline. Students were asked to show how schools and communities have created or will create a campaign to stop bullying, and demonstrate how everyone deserves to feel safe and supported at school. A selection of the videos will be shown over the lunch hour at the summit. The top three videos selected by judges and cash awards for the winners will be announced at the end of the summit.
The summit is gathering growing support this year, including a partnership with the Iowa Grocery Industry Association and its participating members, which are helping to fund the governor's bullying prevention efforts through $1 scan pads found at checkout counters across the state.
An image of the scan pad is found here: https://governor.iowa.gov/wp-content/uploads/2013/09/Bullying_Pad_TP-01.jpg
Iowans were able to begin donating at area grocery stores beginning Oct. 1, which also kicked off Bullying Prevention Month. Participating grocers include Dahl's, Fareway, Hy-Vee and many independent grocery stores. A link to a complete list of participating grocers can be found on the home page of the bullying prevention summit website: https://preventbullying.iowa.gov/
The new campaign was started to offset the costs associated with the event, as well as help raise awareness for the summit. Any remaining funds will go to a statewide bullying prevention education fund for Iowa schools, which will be able to apply for competitive grants that will be distributed among rural, urban and suburban schools.
"We are thrilled to announce today that the Iowa Grocery Industry Association and its participating members will host a campaign during October to raise funds for bullying prevention," said Branstad. "We deeply appreciate the IGIA's support for efforts by our administration and communities across the state to help all students feel safe and respected at school."
Branstad encouraged all Iowans to get involved in stopping bullying.
"We want to send the message that bullying prevention should be a top priority for all of us," the governor continued. "The summit is open to the public, and we hope to sell out like last year."
The summit's focus this year is how adults and students can make a difference. Generous summit support pledged by sponsors this summer and registration fees are expected to cover most if not all of the summit costs, estimated to be about $100,000. A complete list of sponsors can be found on the summit website: https://preventbullying.iowa.gov/.