Governor Terry Branstad today announced the creation of a new resource for Iowa kids who’re being bullied or contemplating suicide.
“Trained counselors will offer support and guidance to bullied youth who feel they have run out of options,” Branstad says.
The “Your Life Iowa” website and phone line is answered 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Kids can even send a text to 855-581-8111 to get help.
It’s a joint project of two state agencies — the Departments of Public Health and Education — and Boys Town, an Omaha-based organization that helps troubled youth and families as well as the homeless.
Today is its first day of operation — to coincide with the statewide bullying prevention summit underway in Des Moines.
“(The website) will also serve as a go-to resource where Iowans can get information about how to be part of the solution to ending bullying and youth suicide,” Branstad said this morning.
Branstad spoke to the crowd of educators and students for about 10 minutes, saying the culture around us “fosters a disregard for others” that can be dangerous.
“Incivility has become all too common in the workplace, in politics and on the road as well as in the social media,” Branstad said.
AUDIO of Branstad’s speech
According to the governor, Iowa schools can’t solve the problem of bullying alone — they need the support of the entire community.
“Treating each other with respect is a prized value in our state, yet it’s clear that it’s time for this conversation to occur,” Branstad said.
Lieutenant Governor Kim Reynolds told the crowd at the summit that “all too often” adults are “unaware that our kids deal” with bullying and “dismiss it as just ‘kids being kids'” and the summit hopefully will “shine a light” on the problem.