While Governor Vilsack today said he’d introduce legislation to make schools accountable for making schools safe from bullying, there’s already an effort underway by students to address the issue. The State of Iowa Youth Action Committee consists of 20 high school students from the five congressional districts. Melanie Reed of the Iowa Department of Public Health coordinates the program, and she says the plan is to go to communities throughout the state to do some forums to educate students and teachers about how to prevent bullying. She says they’ll also talk about how students can get help, and what they should do if they’re bullied. Reed says students felt it was an issue that needed to be addressed, but she can’t say exactly how bad the bullying is. Reed believes it’s fairly prevalent, but she says it’s hard to give numbers. She says it’s not something that’s been quantified in Iowa or throughout the country yet. This is the third year for the group. Last year, they focused on education and were part of the group that pushed to get a student on the State Board of Education. Reed says the idea is to get kids involved and show young people they can have power and influence in the political process even though they can’t vote. She says there are decisions that are made every day that impact students’ lives and they should have an input in those decisions. The members of the group will work on the issue throughout the school year.
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