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NO BULLY IOWA: Group Calls For Tougher Penalties

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With the 2012 legislative session winding down, anti-bullying groups say lawmakers need to act now.

“If you`re a little different, you`re going to get bullied in the state of Iowa.  We have a law, but the law is not good enough any longer.  The kids go to school, they get bullied there.  They go home, they get bullied there,” says No Bully Iowa founder Daniel Bragg.

“No Bully Iowa” held a small rally at the capitol today.  It was a far cry from the hundreds organizers expected to show up.  The few who came hope their presence will make a difference.

“I don’t know, but I’m going to try.  I know the group isn’t very large, but I was just compelled to come down here today.  Like I said, I never usually do this, but I felt strongly because I’ve got children.  I’ve got grandchildren,” say Pat Altfillisch of Des Moines.

The group wore purple ribbons in honor of a western Iowa teenager who killed himself after being bullied at school and online.  Anti-bullying advocates are asking the state to pass stronger laws to better protect students.

“Iowa should be first in the nation to put a law in effect and start prosecuting.  That’s what we should do,” says Bragg.

Iowa’s current anti-bullying and harassment law was passed in 2007.  Among other things, it requires that all schools put an anti-bullying plan in place.

Some lawmakers have proposed an anti-bullying hotline for students.  Supporters say it will be added to the Senate Standings Bill.  The catch-all budget bill is typically the last one passed by the Legislature.