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Combatting Bullying

CEDAR RAPIDS, IA (CBS 2/FOX 28) -- For one 15 year old teenager, who we'll call Joey, it all came down to this.

I put the barrel in my mouth and pulled the trigger, Joey said. I was at the point where I didn't want to be living anymore.

Constant bullying from kids at school and even his stepfather led to his decision to attempt to end his young life.

State leaders like Senator Liz Mathis are taking note of the troubling trend among teens.

We have to look at how we can train our teachers and administrators in identifying bullying, Mathis said.

Recently, lawmakers introduced legislation that would strengthen Iowa's anti bullying laws, but it stalled in the Iowa House earlier this year.

I think it went a little too far for the house GOP because it talked about things being done at home, and this was a school bill addressing things going on at school, Mathis said.

Mathis says things will have to be different to pass it in 2014.

Take a look at the bill, restructure it, make sure both sides agree, and get it done, Mathis said.

In the same way lawmakers have to listen to each other to make strides, Cheryl Plotz with Foundation 2 says keep an ear open for someone you may think is a victim.

We're all wanting to talk and say what we want to say, but don't underestimate the power of listening to someone, Plotz said.

For parents, it's especially important as summer winds down. 

Discussions before you go to school - what kind of things are you looking forward to, what makes you worried this school year, Plotz suggested.

Joey, who we introduced you to earlier, received that second chance to see another year, as his gun malfunctioned as he pulled the trigger.

There was a gunshot still, but It wasn't my gunshot it was my stepdad's gunshotthey killed a deer, Joey said,

It was a moment that led to a realization, one he hopes others in his situation have.

I started seeing that I had a reason in life, there was a reason why I was living, Joey said.

For more information on Foundation 2, visit www.foundation2.org or call them at 319-362-2174 for their 24 hour crisis line and other services.

In addition, The Crisis Center of Johnson County is hosting a Suicide Survivors group meeting on Thursday, August 1, from 7:00 pm to 8:30 pm at The Crisis Center of Johnson County, located at 1121 Gilbert Court in Iowa City.

For more information, contact Keri Neblett at (319) 351-2726 ext. 114 or by email at  keri.neblett@jccrisiscenter.org. If you are not able to participate in this meeting but would like more information or help with grief, the 24-Hour Crisis Line is available at (319) 351-0140 and is staffed by trained volunteers.

Additional resources are available at www.jccrisiscenter.org.
 
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