The FAMiLY Leader issued a statement responding to Iowa Governor Terry Branstad’s announcement of a bullying prevention summit to be held this fall. Bob Vander Plaats, the President and CEO of The FAMiLY Leader said, “We are thrilled to learn that Governor Branstad and his administration has taken our lead and acted upon our recommendation to provide a comprehensive safe schools/anti-bullying summit. We are prepared and ready to assist this initiative as long as it honors God in all aspects.”
Back in February, Vander Plaats wrote an open letter to Governor Branstad suggesting such a conference take place:
My Dad taught me that anyone can identify a problem, but it takes a leader to present a solution. So, in the keeping with our name The FAMiLY LEADER, let me propose a solution I hope you will consider.
In exchange for the removal of your title from The 7th Annual Iowa Governor’s Conference on LBGTQ Youth, I, along with my team at The FAMiLY LEADER, would be willing to join you and your administration in the development of a privately funded, comprehensive safe schools conference with the goal of promoting healthy, safe behavior, and ridding our schools from all bullying and harassment.
This conference would address the harassment that takes place against minority kids, overweight kids, skinny kids, poor kids, disabled kids, red headed kids, kids confused about their sexuality…ALL kids! This comprehensive approach is especially important since the Iowa Safe Schools bullying statistics show that only about 10% of the bullying incidents are related to sexual orientation, while the remaining 90% are a result of race, physical attributes, and other categories.
Instead of passing out “safe” sex kits to students, the conference could provide abstinence-based education, emphasizing healthy behavior and the healthy aspects of preventing unwanted pregnancies, STD’s, depression, and other problems resulting from sexual activity outside of marriage.
I believe Iowans would be proud to have a Governor-sponsored conference of this type. The golden rule of “do unto others as you would have them do unto you” would be the message and the expectation. Anti-bullying messages, along with abstaining from sexual activity until marriage, would be the basis of this conference, promoting long-lasting relationships that honor God and benefit societies from generation to generation.
Please feel free to contact me at your convenience to fully discuss our teaming for such a conference. Until then, I will be praying for your leadership that honors God and our youth!
Whether or not The FAMiLY Leader will be a sponsor or assist in some other way, according to Vander Plaats, will depend on the agenda and whether it “honors God in all aspects.” The agenda will be made available on September 17th according to the summit’s website.