SOUTH SIOUX CITY | Back to school, back to bullying for many. But a group of community leaders wants to break the cycle.
Northeast Community College, South Sioux City Community Schools and the group Dakota County Connections are sponsoring a pair of programs focusing on ways to combat harassment among kids.
The free seminars, called "Take a Stand against Bullying," are planned Monday and Aug. 27 in South Sioux City. The program, led by Cardinal Elementary School guidance counselor Tammy Carson, is for parents and will focus on the definition of a bully, how to know if bullying is happening and how to handle it.
"We have awesome parents in the district. They care so much about their kids that they want to jump in. But we really want to empower kids and help them take care of things for themselves," Carson said.
She expects to talk about how parents can work with their kids, whether they are victims, bullies or bystanders. The presentation also will focus on resources available and the role of self-esteem and problem-solving skills.
The presentations are 6-9 p.m. at Cardinal Elementary School, 820 E. 29th St., on Monday and the College Center, 1001 College Way, on Aug. 27.
The events coincide with the start of the new school year as well as a time of increased attention on the bullying issue in the wake of last year’s documentary “Bully,” which featured footage of a Sioux City student being harassed repeatedly.
Iowa Gov. Terry Branstad recently announced plans to hold a summit in November to address the issue. Many schools, including South Sioux City and Sioux City, have anti-bullying programs in place.
Dawn Smith, executive assistant at the College Center, spearheaded the event. She was inspired by her own experience as a bullying victim when she was a student. She said she wanted to aim the presentation towards younger kids to "nip bullying in the bud."
"I hope people come together to decide that this is something that will not be tolerated and we need to start in the schools," she said.