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Officials Talk Bullying Summit Goals

DES MOINES, IA (CBS 2/FOX 28)--
The issue of bullying has become a hot education topic in recent years, but what can students, parents and school districts do to tackle this problem?
   
That was the question that brought many to Des Moines today, hoping to find an answer.

The goal is education, educating parents and the community about how to respond and step up to bullying.

A move many here say can be life changing.

The title of the summit is similar to that of a movie, but instead of mission impossible it's called mission possible.  A message that preventing bullying is doable.

"The first step is looking at how schools can do more to cultivate a culture of respect and kindness, said Governor Terry Branstad.

A survey last year found fifty seven percent of Iowa sixth, eighth and 11th graders reported being bullied at school in some way. Thats up from 50 percent in 2010.

It's not clear whether that increase is real or just a case of better reporting.

In any case 57 percent of students feeling bullied should trouble all of us, said Branstad.

Governor Branstad hopes this summit channels that concern into real solutions.

To show the community why and how they can step up response to help students who have experienced or are experiencing bullying at school, off campus or even on the internet.

"We need to begin asking kids about social problems that are happening to them online, said speaker Elizabeth Englander.

Its also about encouraging the students in the audience to stand up rather than just stand by when they witness bullying.

A lesson some parents hope everyone takes to heart.

"This is a cultural issue not just a school. Not just a town. We have to work at it, said parent Myra Sicard.

A work she says begins at events like this.
 
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