Dear Editor,

I am writing as a member of the State of Iowa Youth Advisory Council (SIYAC) in regards to the current proposed anti-bullying legislation.
Bullying has become more difficult to deal with and harder to define because it has moved online. Stronger legislation will enable schools to address bullying that occurs through electronic means, otherwise known as cyber-bullying, and provide students the support needed to feel safe in Iowa’s schools.
SIYAC supports Governor Branstad’s current proposed legislation, the “Bully Free Iowa Act of 2014” (HF2409). SIYAC supports this legislation because it addresses four key aspects of bullying prevention:
The definition of electronic harassment is expanded to include social media and other electronic communications.
Teachers are required to complete approved training to obtain or renew their license.
School personnel are required to give prompt notification to parents or guardians of students involved in bullying incidents.
Schools are given the authority to address bullying incidents that occurred off of school grounds, such as those in cyberspace, if they affect the school environment.
We believe both parties can and should come to agreement on these four points to establish a safer environment for Iowa’s youth.

Agatha Fenech
Public Relations Chair of SIYAC
Cedar Falls, Iowa