DES MOINES — Grocery stores across Iowa will start taking donations for state bullying prevention efforts next month.
Hy-Vee, Fareway, Dahl’s, Wally’s Food Pride, Keith’s Foods and Don’s Foods already have signed on to the promotion, which allows shoppers to donate $1 by swiping a barcode pad over a grocery store’s scanner.
The extra buck will go to offset the cost of a Nov. 4 statewide anti-bullying summit expected to cost $90,000 with much of the cost already covered by sponsorships and registration fees.
“Additional funds raised, including contributions raised from the grocers’ retail campaign, will go to a statewide bullying prevention education fund for Iowa schools,” Gov. Terry Branstad said during a Monday news conference where he was joined by members from the Iowa Grocery Industry Association.
That fund, the governor said, would provide money for grants that would be awarded to school districts looking for ways to pay for anti-bullying efforts.
Michelle Hurd, president of the Iowa Grocery Industry Association, estimated the monthlong campaign would raise $50,000 for statewide anti-bullying efforts.
“We immediately knew we could have a positive impact,” Hurd said.
She said the scan cards would be available at a minimum of 260 grocery stores in the state.
The Nov. 4 summit is the second such summit in as many years, and this one, the governor said, will focus on what children and parents can do to prevent bullying.
Last year’s summit led to the creation of anti-bullying legislation that explicitly allowed school officials to enforce the anti-bullying statute even when the incidents occurred off school grounds. It was an attempt, the governor said, to address cyber-bullying, including bullying over social media platforms such as Facebook.
The legislation never got a full hearing in the Republican-controlled Iowa House. Branstad said he plans to introduce legislation again in the 2014 session.
“Last year, by the time the legislation was perfected and introduced, it was relatively late in the session,” he said. “This is a difficult subject because we’re not only dealing with the traditional bullying that occurs on the school grounds and the hallways or in a bus, but it’s also things that happen in the Internet and over social media.”