Governor Terry Branstad and Lieutenant Governor Kim Reynolds joined Sioux City Schools Superintendent Paul Gausmann and others Wednesday for a public forum on school bullying. Branstad says the programs at Sioux City West High School are setting the standard in stopping bullying. “I think these listening posts that we’re doing and learning what you’re doing to change the culture here at West High School and in the Sioux City school system, the mentoring program and other things, I think all of that will help us,” the governor says.

Karter Jones was one of the students to participate, and he says learning that bullying is wrong starts at home. “Growing up you always hear ‘it’s not the right thing to do, it’s not the right thing to do,’ so they should just keep relaying that message. Treat others the way you want to be treated. If you wouldn’t want that to be said about you on social media or in the lunchroom, than why are you saying it,?” Jones says.

The Iowa House and Senate each passed their own bullying bills last year and there was not compromise reached before the end of the session. Governor Branstad believes a bill will be passed this session. “What I hope we can do is build on the proposal we had last year, see if we can perfect and improve it. Listen to the critics who had concerns with aspects of it, see if we can answer some of those concerns, and hopefully we can get something that can be approved,” Branstad says.

State Representative Ron Jorgensen of Sioux City heads the House Education Committee. He say’s he’ll push the measure again in the 2015 session. “I think the key is to start early, last year we go through it, but it just kept running into roadblock after roadblock and then we just ran out of time,” Jorgensen says. He says they just didn’t have time to sit down and negotiate a settlement. Sioux City West is one of three schools in the state the governor and lieutenant governor are visiting to learn what schools are doing to deal with bullying.

(Reporting by Woody Gottburg, KSCJ, Sioux City)