DES MOINES, Iowa -- A new anti-bullying bill is making it's way through the Iowa Legislature. But critics say it doesn't go far enough.
Sixteen-year old Seirria Smith of Des Moines knows words really can hurt. The bullying she suffered for years led her to consider suicide and eventually drop out of school. "There's been multiple times where I have thought about killing myself and I did cut," Smith says, "I've had a friend get bullied in school because she had cancer and lost all her hair."
The anti-bullying bill passed in the Senate by a 43-to-7 margin. The bill allows school administrators to investigate bullying outside the walls of the school and on social media like Facebook and Twitter.
"When things happen outside of the school it spills over into the classroom. And somebody who is being harassed outside of school shouldn't have to be sitting inside the same classroom with the harasser," said the bill's author, Senator Rob Hogg (D) Cedar Rapids.
The problem is, the bill does not include any additional funding to train teachers and administrators on how to investigate cyber bullying.
"The money's not there," said Nate Monson with Iowa Safe Schools, "And so we get into a chicken and egg scenario too with the anti bullying law. So if we're not going to fund our schools in the appropriate amount schools don't have resources and we are not able to meet the needs of anti bullying in the state and it becomes this scenario where no one wins."
Smith says her teachers just weren't equipped to deal with the type of bullying kids face today. That's why she dropped out of school. And without funding for training, she says, the bill probably won't help. "Teachers say that they're going to take care of it," Smith said, "They say that nothing's gonna happen and eventually the next day you're putting a kid in the ground and there's nothing you can do about it anymore."