Over the years, teasing has been dismissed as kids being kids.
However, the consequences of that teasing can lead to depression, poor performance in the classroom, and even suicide.
Some students say they’ve been victims of bullying.
“I’ve been bullied since I was in elementary school and into high school. I’ve basically dealt with bullying all my life,” said Kaytlin Norris, a senior at Basics and Beyond in Newton.
Others say they see it every day in the hallways of their own schools.
“At this small school, everyone knows each other but still, they’re doing this to their peers,” said Cole Norton, a senior at Lisbon Community School.
Bullying is something that affects everyone.
So Governor Terry Branstad invited Iowans to address the issue at the Governor’s Bullying Prevention Summit.
“In the most recent youth survey of Iowa students in grades six, eight, and eleven, more than half reported being bullied at school,” said Governor Branstad.
It allows educators like Dr. Paul Gausman to reach out to students and state leaders, sharing strategies on how to prevent bullying.
He’s the superintendent of Sioux City Community Schools.
The district has been recognized for its pro-active approach to protecting students in and out of the classroom.
“Bullying doesn’t just happen in schools. It happens in churches, shopping malls, and sporting events. We know that to fix bullying in schools, we also have to consider bullying in the larger community setting,” Dr. Gausman told Channel 13 News.
Sioux City Community Schools use high school seniors to mentor freshman and coaches to teach athletes about violence off the field.
They’re efforts he believes students and educators can bring back to their own communities.
“There are a lot of students here, and they’re at the front line of the solution to this challenge,” said Dr. Gausman.