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STEP UP: Local Rally Targets Bullying

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Organizers of an anti-bullying rally say they wish they would have held the event a few weeks earlier to help save the life of a Pleasant Hill teenager.

"Maybe the message could have been heard by him. We think now is a really good time for kids to understand we are here for them,” said Soneeta Mangra-Dutcher, Founder of the Central Iowa Chapter of Stand for the Silent.

AJ Betts, a student at Southeast Polk High School took his life last weekend.

His mother said he was a victim of bullying.

The teen was on the minds of many who attended a rally Saturday hosted by the Central Iowa Chapter of Stand for the Silent.

It's a group with over 400 chapters worldwide dedicated to stopping bullying in schools.

The group’s message is that every person is important.

"Our main goal is to teach kids that they are somebody. They have a right to be here and be who they are. No matter what, we love the person the way they are,” said Kirk Smalley, Founder of Stand for the Silent.

You can find more information on Stand for the Silent by visiting the group's Facebook page below.