We've talked a lot about how bullying can have a devastating effect on children. Iowa's governor went so far as to create a YouTube competition to get kids to teach their peers that bullying is bad. Now, two Sioux City schools are in the running for the grand prize.
"It's not much that people are realizing it, it's that people are kind of gaining the courage to talk about it and not be scared that they will be targeted about it," said Matt Bennett, a junior at Sioux City North.
A statewide competition has students thinking creatively about ways to stop it. The focus of Bishop Heelan's piece showed how just reaching out can be huge.
"Something so small can make a big difference in someone's whole demeanor or the outlook of their day. That's what stood out to me," said Christian Bork, principal at Bishop Heelan.
Last year, the competition was at a city-wide level, and Heelan won. They're hoping they can repeat this year.
"I guess you could say we had that feeling, but I don't want to say that we knew that we were going to win, but we all had that feeling," said Alex Linden, a junior at Heelan.
While Heelan is hoping for a win at the state level, competition will come from Sioux City North.
"We don't like losing to Heelan that much, so we wanted to do it," said Bennett.
Bennett says his teammates have delivered a very powerful message about reaching out, with powerful images. "There's not much that we need to tell them, we just show them video and they understand it right away," he said.
Sophomore Xavier Scarlett played the bullying victim in North's PSA.
"Being the victim for the first time, it was really different," said Scarlett.
In fact, during his group's two days of filming, Scarlett says he actually started to feel bullied.
"It doesn't feel good at all. There'd be a couple times, where they'd kick (the books) really hard and I'd be like, okay, this is real," said Scarlett.
With the stakes high, including a cash prize and personal pride, North and Heelan are hoping to emerge victoriously in the battle against bullying. "Just knowing that our school is known for something that's not sports or anything like that. It's being a school that sticks up for other people and cares about what's happening," said Sophie Elbert, a sophomore at Heelan.
Click here to watch the PSAs made by Bishop Heelan, and Sioux City North students.
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