Create A law against bullying in schools in Iowa

Petition Closed

Create A law against bullying in schools in Iowa

This petition had 671 supporters

Belinda Kinkennon started this petition to SouthEast Polk Board of Education, Iowa Schools, Iowa Governer

At the age of 16 my best friend A.J. Betts committed suicide after being bullied relentlessly for years after he came out as being gay. SouthEast Polk high school had claimed to have a "no-tolerance" policy for bullying, yet they did nothing to stop it. In the time past his suicide I have spoken to kids from many schools in Iowa. The kids are bullied, but the school provides them with no assistance and takes no action against it. I myself have been in classrooms where the teacher overhears kids being bullied and takes no action. I'm looking to change this to honor A.J. Please stand with me as I plea to the school board to create a policy against bullying online and in schools. 

AJ's mother, Sheryl Moore has worked relentlessly to create and bring attention to this issue at SouthEast Polk High School. She offered the school 20,000 dollars to create a Diversity program in the school before his passing and 50,000 to fix the bullying issue after his passing, she was denied in both. She has sat through school board meetings at the high school where they discussed the problem "AJ's mom" is creating for the school. 

In 2007 the Iowa legislature created a legislation that is now titled Iowa code section 280.28. "Requiring all school districts and accredited nonpublic schools in Iowa to have anti-harassment/anti-bullying policies, to make complaint forms available to targets of bullying or harassment, to put investigative procedures into place, and to collect and report data regarding incidents of bullying and harassment." (Iowa Code section 280.28)

Furthermore the definition of bullying and harassment as stated in the legislature is

"Any electronic, written, verbal, or physical act or conduct toward a student which is based on any actual or perceived trait or characteristic of the student and which creates an objectively hostile school environment that meets one or more of the following conditions:

Places the student in reasonable fear of harm to the student's person or property;
Has a substantially detrimental effect on the student's physical or mental health;
Has the effect of substantially interfering with a student's academic performance;
Has the effect of substantially interfering with the student's ability to participate in or benefit from the services, activities, or privileges provided by a school. (Iowa Code section 280.28)
"Trait or characteristic of the student" includes but is not limited to age, color, creed, national origin, race, religion, marital status, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, physical attributes, physical or mental ability or disability, ancestry, political party preference, political belief, socioeconomic status, or familial status" (Iowa code section 280.28)

Now AJ and many other kids have been put in said hostile environments by other students, yet the school takes no actions against it. Such actions by other students can cause damage to a persons mental health and well-being, leading possibly to suicide, such as in AJ's case. 

My plea with this petition is that we create an environment at the high school that is inviting and that SouthEast Polk will enact their "no-tolerance" policy and make there truly be no tolerance for bullying or harassment in our schools.

You can read the full legislative act at the web address listed below:

https://www.educateiowa.gov/resources/laws-and-regulations/legal-lessons/bullying-and-harassment

With much love and hope for change,

Belinda Kinkennon

Petition Closed

This petition had 671 supporters