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Stalled legislation would have addressed cyberbullying

Published: Wednesday, April 10, 2013 11:02 a.m. CDT • Updated: Wednesday, April 10, 2013 11:03 a.m. CDT

Rep. Dan Kelley lashed out last week in his weekly “Kelley at the Capitol” column when a bill intended to deal with cyberbullying failed to pass the final “funnel” date in the Iowa House this session.

“The bill was the result of the governor’s anti-bullying conference last fall,” he said. “I’m very disappointed it hasn’t moved forward. It had support from the governor [and] support from a majority in the House. It had the support of the Senate.”

Kelley, who formerly served on the House Education Committee, said he understood the bill would allow school officials to deal with bullying inflicted upon students away from the traditional classroom and school settings. He said cyberbullying conducted outside of the classroom could be addressed.

“It would have been effective in providing educators the means to deal with cyberbullies, which generally do their thing away from school,” he said. “They could have disciplined students who post something when not in the classroom.”

Kelley said a group of “16 socially conservative” Republicans announced they would not support the bill, meaning Democrat votes would be needed to pass the legislation. Kelley also said the House GOP leadership has not wanted to pass bills that way this session, which is why the bill failed to clear the final “funnel” deadline.

A point of contention was whether or not a teacher can deal with something away from the school,” he said. “I felt we should have moved forward with the bill. As technology advances, we need to make sure students feel safe in and out of the building. Technology brings new challenges. This bill would have addressed some of those.”