Swedish and Iowa students team up to stop bullying - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Swedish and Iowa students team up to stop bullying

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BLACK HAWK COUNTY (KWWL) -

High school students from Sweden are visiting the Cedar Valley, and doing more than just sight-seeing. 

The 17-year-old students are  on a mission to stop bullying; not just in their high schools, but internationally.

Waterloo Mayor Quentin Hart recognized the student's work during this week's city council meeting.

"As a part of making our environment safe for all, free from harm, and end all forms of abuse," said Mayor Hart.

During the week, the students visited local high schools, the Cedar Valley Boys and Girls Club, and spoke with community leaders to get an idea of the problems Iowa's students face.

"Particularly in high school and middle school, they really need the support of their peers and they need the reassurance of the peers that they all agree that those behaviors don't belong here. But acting on those behaviors and challenging those takes leadership, it takes courage and support from each other," said Dr. Alan Heisterkamp, who runs the University of Northern Iowa's Center for Violence Prevention.

Along with 300 high school students from across Eastern Iowa, the Swedish delegation learned and shared ideas on supporting their peers, mentoring, and stopping violence during Thursday's conference.

"We have a lot of physical violence and we call each other names," explained Swedish student, Klody Kourie. "When I talked to the mentors here, they told us that they have a lot of alcohol and drug problems."

But the mission is the same in Iowa as it is in Sweden, stop the violence, prevent bullying, and send a positive message to our youth.

"It is very very important. If it could stop, it would be perfect for us, for everyone," said Swedish student Soleiman Tomea.

The Swedish delegation will round out its week with a summit on diversity before attending the Cedar Falls High School football game, Friday.

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