POLITICAL FIGHT: Boy, 8, Helping To Combat Bullying

It began as a response to what he saw on TV and on the playground.

After spreading the word to his fellow students, an 8-year-old boy is trying to get other schools in the state involved.

Luther Johnson is teaching his classmates at Moulton Extended Learning Center in Des Moines an important lesson about bullying and violence.

“You tell them to stop, walk away to tell an adult,” says Johnson.

With the help of his grandma, the elementary student started the Kids Against Violence petition. So far, he’s collected more than 1,000 student signatures.

“They can hear me talk all day long. They can hear their teachers all day long, but when it’s one of their own peers, they really do tend to listen a little bit differently,” says Moulton Principal Cheri Dixon.

After a failed attempt to beef up bullying laws last legislative session, the Governor is making it a top priority this year.

“We want to do whatever we can through legislation to enable schools, school administrators and parents especially to address bullying,” says State Rep. Chris Hall, (D) Sioux City.

The Iowa Senate passed a bill to address cyber bullying, give schools authority off campus, parental notification and teacher training.

“There’s a million dollar price tag on that. That’s the major difference between the two bills, the House and the Senate, is the appropriations piece,” says State Rep. Quentin Stanerson, (R) Center Point.

House Democrats say they’re waiting on Republicans to take up the bill.

“It’s a question mark. I think that it’s very hard for us to tell if House Republicans have an interest in working on the issue,” says Hall.

“I believe that by the end of this session, we will have some meaningful legislation that addresses this problem,” says Stanerson.

Before lawmakers sign off on any legislation, some students are signing a petition and a pledge of their to stop bullying.

“Stop. That’s not the right thing to do,” says Johnson.

On Saturday, Kids Against Violence will be on the west steps of the Capitol to show all the signatures they’ve collected plus get some more. Just stop by from 12 until 2PM.  This October, you can help them set a world record for the most signatures for a campaign bringing awareness to student bullying and violence.