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Bullying awareness has been discussed in several Iowa cities recently.

Des Moines’ Lincoln High School has dedicated an entire week to the topic. They’re calling it Black Out Bullying week with different activities planned each day. One day students will take a pledge to sit by someone new during their lunch period. Another day students are encouraged to wear black to support the awareness effort. There will also be skits and poetry readings every day during lunch. On Wednesday evening, there’s a parent’s night featuring a national speaker.

On the other side of the state, students at Bettendorf Middle School were visited by the author of the novel, The Revealers, which focuses on bullying.

Doug Wilhelm spoke to students and encouraged them to stand-up to bullies both in school and online. Wilhelm says students should be more vocal when dealing with bullies, and teachers and parents need to show their support to those who are bullied.

 “You can get singled out for being different in any way, and get picked on, rumors spread about you, laughed at. And most kids have that happen to them or they witness it. And a lot of how kids struggle through that, will be part of forming what kind of person they’re going to be for the rest of their lives,” he explained.

Wilhelm also hosted an hour-long conversation with parents about bullying in the evening.