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Gov. Branstad, Lt. Gov. Reynolds remarks to the Governor’s Bullying Prevention Summit PDF Print E-mail
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Written by Office of the Governor of Iowa   
Tuesday, 27 November 2012 08:31

(DES MOINES) – Gov. Terry Branstad and Lt. Gov. Kim Reynolds today addressed the Governor’s Bullying Prevention Summit in Des Moines. Today’s remarks are below, as prepared for delivery:

Lieutenant Governor Kim Reynolds:

Some of you are shocked by what you just saw, and some of you live it every day.

If you are shocked by what you just witnessed on that video, then this summit is where you need to be.

All too often, we tend to be unaware that our kids deal with insults like these -- or it’s tempting to turn a blind eye to such comments.

We dismiss it as just “kids being kids.” We don’t always acknowledge this issue because it’s easier to hope it will go away.

But let me tell you, these comments are verbatim, they are real, and they are hurtful.

This conference is designed to shine a light on this problem. These remarks aren’t confined to Waukee, they happen in virtually every school district in this state.

And so, we must turn our shock into action.

We need to shine a light, because by keeping these comments in the darkness, and ignoring them, we are keeping those students they affect in an even darker place.

In that place are thoughts of declining self-worth, declining grades, or worse.

While this video brought about shock, some of you likely felt sadness. If so, then this conference is also where you need to be.

We’ll be discussing the factors that cause this behavior, ways to prevent this behavior and ideas to make our schools a safer place for learning.

Today’s summit will help equip you with the information you need, the contacts you can utilize…

And the resolve to take action to prevent bullying of all kinds within our schools.

Remember – the most important thing WE do is treat each other with kindness and respect, now.

Please join me in welcoming on stage the Waukee students responsible for the great video you just watched.

It’s my great pleasure to introduce:

-Beau Easley, a freshman at Iowa State University;

-Meg Goodson, a freshman at the University of Iowa;

-Mickey Sundermann, a Waukee High School Senior; and

-Sydni Rowen, a Waukee High School senior.

Thank you all for being here today. I admire the courage it took to produce such a candid video.

We know many positive things go on in our schools, but we also have to be honest about the negative things – or we cannot fully address them.

I’ll now turn the podium over to Sydni Rowen to talk briefly about why she and the other students made the video...

…Thank you Sydni, and thank you to everyone attending the Governor’s Bullying Prevention Summit today.

We appreciate the speakers and panelists from around the state and nation for sharing their expertise with us.

And thank you to the students in 23 schools across Iowa for your entries for the video contest. At noon, we’ll have the opportunity view all 23 videos on what schools are doing to prevent bullying and what more could be done.

Education Department Director Jason Glass will announce the video contest winners at the close of the summit.

Now it’s my great pleasure to introduce Gov. Terry Branstad, whose commitment to public service and to treating others with dignity & respect is unmatched by anyone I know.


Governor Terry E. Branstad

Thank you, Lt. Governor Reynolds. And thank you to everyone here today for making the time to attend the Governor’s Bullying Prevention Summit.

I am proud that more than 1,100 Iowans have gathered for this critical conversation about how we can work together to stop bullying.

We know Iowa schools can’t do it alone – that it takes the community. I deeply appreciate your commitment to making that happen.

But isn’t it also surprising that we are here? Iowans enjoy a well-deserved reputation for being good neighbors. We are people who look out for each other. Treating each other with respect is a prized value.

Yet it’s clear that it’s time to have this conversation.

In the most recent Iowa Youth Survey of students in grades six, eight and 11, half of those surveyed reported being bullied at school in some way.

Whether in schools, on a school bus, elsewhere in the community, or in the digital world, bullying seems like a bigger problem than it used to be.

It is easy to point to changes in technology. Cell phones, tablets and computers have made 24/7 cyber-bullying possible – but they are not to blame.

The culture around us too often fosters a disregard for others that is unhealthy -- and sometimes dangerous. Incivility has become all too common in the workplace, in politics and on the road, as well as in social media.

Schools sometimes reflect this.

Being bullied can leave children at increased risk of depression and we know it can have tragic consequences – even becoming a potential factor in suicide.

The consequences of bullying are far-reaching and long lasting.

I want to share excerpts of three emails received after announcing the Governor’s Bullying Prevention Summit would be held

Here is the first one: “My family is now defined by bullying. It forces your child to grow up faster and there is an actual loss of just being a child. My child will forever be known as a ‘victim.’ We will survive, but we are forever changed.

“My fear? I can't monitor my child on the bus. I can't monitor my child on the way home. I can't monitor my child in the hallways. I can't monitor my child in the cafeteria. The bully has the right to those same areas, even with recorded physical and verbal assaults.

“I guess it takes a suicide or critical injury to address a bully and their family. Get serious about this and take a hard look at addressing the bullies’ parents.”

Here is the second email: “I graduated from high school in 1979, and, after four-plus years of torture, I was publicly humiliated at my high school graduation.  It’s been 33 years since I graduated and I have never attended a reunion….

“Needless to say, what happened in my high school years has forever shaped me into the person I am today.  In my heart, I feel that the children of today need to know what the long-term effects of bullying can be.  The suicides nationwide are certainly horrific, but the ones who lived through it and suffer every day because of it have lessons to teach as well.”

And here is the third email, from a student who also sent a video with a song she wrote about bullying: “Hi, I'm 15 and wrote this because of a personal experience. I did the video myself, too. I was not going to let them break me. Because in the end bullying is really about power. Why give anyone that satisfaction over you! I didn't, and I won't and I hope more and more kids don't, either.”

We all recognize that we must do more to stop bullying, but we’re often not sure how.

I am encouraged that awareness is growing that bullying is NOT a normal rite of passage in childhood – and that we must do more to prevent it.

From Sioux City to Marshalltown to Davenport, schools and their communities are stepping up to meet this challenge. Today we will learn more about their work.

The Iowa Department of Education earlier this year launched a new data collection system to provide a more accurate picture of bullying in schools. It also gives school leaders a clear definition of bullying.

In October, the Iowa Emergency Management Association District 6 sent a declaration of support for the efforts of my office and the Iowa Department of Education to eradicate bullying in Iowa’s schools. We are grateful for their support.

And today, I am proud to announce the launch of a new bullying and suicide prevention resource – Your Life Iowa. This hotline and website, funded by the Iowa Department of Public Health in partnership with Boys Town, the Iowa Youth Advisory Committee and the Iowa Department of Education, will provide help to Iowans 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

Trained counselors will offer support and guidance to bullied youth who feel they have run out of options. Your-Life-Iowa-dot-org will also serve as a go-to resource where Iowans can get information about how to be part of the solution to ending bullying and youth suicide.

Numerous efforts are under way to stop bullying in Iowa. But we are a long way from where we need to be. So what do I hope we will accomplish today?

We must send a clearer message that schools alone cannot stop bullying, that it takes the community.

I hope we learn more about how to change the culture inside and outside schools -- with concrete steps -- so bullying is not tolerated.

Every student should know that if they report being bullied, adults will take them seriously and that other students will stand up for them in a nonviolent way.

We also need to examine whether state law can be strengthened to help schools better address bullying.

Together, we must be more engaged in the effort to prevent bullying.

Be an instrument for change, help our children feel safe, and use the information you gather here today as your charge to improve the lives of students for the better.

Thank you.



SEC chairman to step down, Grassley on track record, challenges ahead PDF Print E-mail
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Written by Grassley Press   
Monday, 26 November 2012 15:40
Monday, Nov. 26, 2012

Sen. Chuck Grassley of Iowa today made the following comment on the news that Mary Schapiro will step down as chairman of the Securities and Exchange Commission next month.

“The SEC has proposed some weak settlements with Wall Street firms, including one that a judge called ‘chump change.’  The SEC has to crack down harder, especially on repeat offenders.  I have some sympathy for the idea that current law limits the agency’s enforcement abilities, as Chairman Schapiro has said, although the SEC also hasn’t always used its existing penalties to the fullest.  To remove barriers to strong enforcement, Sen. Reed and I introduced legislation to increase the SEC’s penalties.  I’ll pursue that in the next Congress.  Chairman Schapiro supported the SEC whistleblower provisions that I helped to develop, although the implementing regulations have been problematic.  I’ll continue to ride herd over the agency in getting the whistleblower office going.  It’s disappointing that Chairman Schapiro is leaving the commission without having a permanent inspector general in place, since her departure may delay the commission in filling that important position even further.  The SEC, like any agency, benefits from a strong, independent inspector general.  The sooner the recent turmoil in the inspector general’s office is overcome, the better for the agency and the investing public.”

Governor’s Bullying Prevention Summit now sold-out; Iowans encouraged to watch online PDF Print E-mail
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Written by Office of the Governor of Iowa   
Monday, 26 November 2012 15:39

(DES MOINES) – Gov. Terry Branstad and Lt. Gov. Kim Reynolds today announced that the Governor’s Bullying Prevention Summit tomorrow is at capacity, and tickets are no longer available.

The Governor’s Bullying Prevention Summit will have nearly 1,200 attendees, including students, educators and parents from across the state.

Iowans wishing to participate in the conversation may still do so via Twitter, using the #NoBully hash tag.

JDL Horizons, using its flagship Internet streaming solution EduVision, will produce and stream all of the plenary and breakout sessions in cooperation with the governor’s office. eSchool Media will accept the stream and deliver the events to a national audience of nearly 1 million K-12 educators throughout North America and around the world. Streaming of the entire summit will be available at:

More information can be found on the summit’s web site at

# # #

Governor Pat Quinn Takes Clemency Action PDF Print E-mail
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Written by Leslie Wertheimer   
Monday, 26 November 2012 15:10

CHICAGO – November 21, 2012. Governor Pat Quinn today granted 81 and denied 88 clemency petitions. This action marks another step in a series of clemency decisions aimed at eliminating a backlog of more than 2,500 cases that built up during the previous administration.

The 169 clemency petitions acted upon by Governor Quinn are part of dockets ranging from 2005 through 2010. Each person granted clemency has recently undergone a criminal background check through the Illinois State Police’s Law Enforcement Agencies Data System (LEADS).

A granted clemency request for a pardon with expungement allows the petitioner to seek expungement of their conviction through the court system.

Since taking office, Governor Quinn has acted on 2,237 clemency petitions. Governor Quinn has granted 842 and denied 1,395 petitions. Those actions include granting 825 pardons and authorizing 17 people who had previously received pardons to seek expungement of their convictions.

For additional information on the granted clemency cases, please contact Ken Tupy at the Prisoner Review Board at (217) 782-7274 or This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .


Royal Neighbors to name $10,000 surprise Nation of Neighbors recipient during special Rock Island High School awards ceremony PDF Print E-mail
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Written by Lynnette Meincke   
Monday, 26 November 2012 14:30
Description: Medellion_c_letterhead

(Rock Island, IL)— Royal Neighbors of America will make a surprise visit to Rock Island High School to present a check for $10,000 to Teresa Babers and her daughter, Jasmine. The funds from the organization’s Nation of NeighborsSM Program will help Jasmine enhance the magazine, “LOVE Girls,” which she publishes with her fellow students. Jasmine and her team are dedicated to empowering young women through the quarterly magazine.

Jasmine, a junior, founded the magazine last year when she decided to start a non-profit to help girls with self-esteem. In the past year, she has not only published her magazine, but also has been involved in several community service projects. LOVE stands for “lead,” “overcome,” “value,” and “empower.” The magazine features articles on topics such as careers, fashion, hair care, makeup, and community service.

Cynthia Tidwell, Royal Neighbors President/CEO, and staff from the Royal Neighbors Home Office will present the check to the Babers and the editorial team during a special awards ceremony at the school.  Rock Island School District Superintendent Dr. Michael Oberhaus and High School Principal Tim Wernentin will also be in attendance to present the school’s “Whatever It Takes” award  to the young magazine entrepreneurs.

What: Surprise $10,000 check presentation

Where: Rock Island High School, 1400 25th Avenue

When: Monday, November 26, 10:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m.

Contact: Sarah Reemtsma, (563) 343-7770

Focusing on its history of standing strong for women, Royal Neighbors has given more than $1 million to assist 900-plus families and individuals in reaching their goals and rebuilding their lives through its Nation of Neighbors Program. The program, which was launched in 2007, demonstrates the neighbor-helping-neighbor philosophy on which Royal Neighbors was founded in 1895.

Through the 2012 program, determined women of strength and courage are empowered with financial assistance to achieve their full potential, realize a sense of renewed personal growth, and give back to their communities. Each year, Royal Neighbors members and sales agents across the country are asked to nominate individuals they know who want to change their lives for the better. A panel reviews each nomination and determines the recipients and the monetary amounts awarded.

Royal Neighbors of America, one of the nation’s largest women-led life insurance companies, exists for the benefit of its members. It offers insurance products to fulfill financial needs of growth, savings, and protection. Members receive valuable benefits and can participate in volunteer activities through the organization’s local chapters to help make a difference in their communities. The organization’s philanthropic efforts are dedicated to changing women's lives through its national programs, including the Nation of NeighborsSM Program, and through the Royal Neighbors Foundation, a 501(c)(3) public charity.

Headquartered in Rock Island, IL, with branch offices in Mesa, AZ, and Austin, TX, Royal Neighbors serves more than 200,000 members and is licensed to do business in 42 states and the District of Columbia.

For more information about Royal Neighbors of America, call (800) 627-4762, or visit


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