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Students and Parents Attend Bullying Summit

DES MOINES, IA (CBS 2/FOX 28)--More than a thousand Iowans attended governor Branstad's bullying prevention summit today.

It's the second summit of its kind, but this time the focus was on how those most affected by bullying can help correct it.

Students and their parents are the ones who mostly feel the effect of bullying and today some say this summit will help them better address the issue.

It's a full house here at the governor's bullying prevention summit.

Students and parents from all over the state are out in full for force to learn how they can help put a stop to bullying.

"I think it will help me really understand that you need to put yourself into someone else's shoes to be able to understand the empathy behind all of it, said student Kennedy Varisco.

"Last year actually I came to the first one and I just was so excited that there was something being done in the state and wanted to be part of that, said parent Myra Sicard

Sicard says she had to pull her son from public school after realizing that he was being bullied.

He is now taking classes online.

Like many here, she hopes this event will help teach how to better respond to the problem.

"It's all about working together and just staying positive and trying to make a difference and coming up with as many ideas as we can, she said.

From the professional to student speakers, they all had the same message.

Preventing bullying doesn't just start at school; it needs to happen in the community.

"Because bullying happens every day and people take it in and no one does anything about it, said Bella Hanniford, said 7th grader Bella Hanniford.

"It could be at church, it could be at the grocery store, it could be anywhere at a restaurant, said Sicard.

In the end, the hope is that students and parents alike will take everything they have learned from this summit back to their neighborhoods and start the change there.

The governor's office is working on an anti-bullying bill.

They say it should be ready by the start of the 2014 legislative session.
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