iowa | Not in Our Town


It’s hard not to cry, or feel like you’ve been punched in the gut while watching the ten minutes of horrendous bullying and harassment that Upstate New York grandmother and school bus monitor was subjected to by a group of middle school students. 
The Marshalltown Times-Republican pays tribute to Marshalltown High School Principal Aiddy Phomvisay, who was integral in Marshalltown, IA's anti-bullying work and Not In Our Town group. Phomvisay appears in the Not In Our Town film showcasing the town's progress. After four years in Marshalltown, Phomvisay is moving to Des Moines. This article is republished with permission.   
Violence struck another American high school last week. On Wednesday April 9, a student in Murrysville, PA roamed the halls of his school stabbing fellow students. On that same day, community leaders in Marshalltown, IA gathered in the Marshalltown High School gym as students presented what they had learned from new violence prevention trainings. Marshalltown is part of the Safe Schools, Healthy Students Initiative sponsored by the U.S. Departments of Health and Human Services, Education and Justice. Marshalltown is also a Not In Our Town community and for the past two years has been implementing a Not In Our Town campaign to address bullying and intolerance, community-wide. The anti-violence training at Marshalltown High School was provided by Mentors in Violence Prevention (MVP). Thirty-seven students and staff members participated in the day-long sessions, learning ways to intervene in violence, including talking to the victim, talking to the perpetrator, going to trusted adults, diverting or delaying actions. After the training, students said they felt more comfortable knowing how to intervene during a conflict or bullying situation.
As a school district administrator, Matt Tullis has played an important role in linking his school district to the Marshalltown Not In Our Town community effort to address bullying and intolerance. With his leadership, the school district has taken a strong stand, sponsoring Not In Our School schoolwide activities like Friday Night Lights and classroom activities. In 2013, Matt was sent as an emissary from Marshalltown to Hungary as that country began to set up their efforts. Marshalltown will be present in force with a contingent at the Not In Our Town National Leadership Gathering where you can learn more about their inspiring efforts. —Becki Cohn-Vargas, Not In Our School Director Tell us about your school community.
How can Marshalltown, Iowa sustain and build on the Not In Our Town efforts launched in 2012, so the community can achieve lasting change? That was the big question a group of more than 20 civic leaders gathered to discuss at their first-ever retreat held at the Orpheum Theater in downtown Marshalltown. The group invited speakers from three areas their campaign to stop bullying was working to address: Schools, Home, Community and Workplace. Non-profit and advocacy organizations from Immigrant Allies, Domestic Violence advocates, the school district and chamber of commerce presented needs to the group for support and action. Not In Our Town Executive Producer Patrice O'Neill and evaluation coach and consultant Grace Carroll were there to observe and told the group that their efforts would be watched and shared with communities nationwide. They presented ideas for benchmarks that are particular to Marshalltown, but also universal for other towns who may want to strive for Gold Star City status on the map.
From Oak Creek Patch: About 100 people attended a candlelight vigil Sunday night at the Sikh Temple of Wisconsin for victims of the Newtown school shootings. Credit: Mark Schaaf Oak Creek Stands for NewtownMass shootings are happening all too often across the country, and no one knows this better than the residents of those communities affected. The residents of Oak Creek, WI, understand the pain these shootings cause—just four months ago, a white supremacist shot and killed six people at the Sikh Temple of Wisconsin. That’s why Oak Creek stood with Newtown, CT, on Sunday, holding a vigil to remember the 26 people killed in a shooting rampage at the Sandy Hook Elementary School on Friday. Read the full story about the vigil on Oak Creek Patch.
By Matthew Tullis, Project Director for Safe Schools/Healthy Students in Marshalltown, IA Originally published by the Iowa Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development  The city of Marshalltown understands the importance of collaboration. For years the community and its school district have risen to embrace challenges and work together. In the spring of 2012, Mike Schlesinger, Publisher and General Manager of Marshalltown Newspaper, LLC, gathered key community leaders together to address the issue of bullying and hate. Based on a common concern about tragic consequences resulting from bullying that have been reported in Iowa and across the nation, Marshalltown decided immediately to be proactive and spread a common message that this type of behavior is not acceptable in our town.
That's why we talk. That's why we have dialogue: to learn about the things that we are unaware, they said. We all come from different backgrounds, and it takes a collective effort to weave a tapestry that paints an accurate portrait of our community.  By David Alexander, Staff Writer at the Times-Republican Sister Chris Feagan said people are like M&Ms: they come in a variety of colors, but they are all the same inside.
If you've been following our Facebook page, you know we have been in Marshalltown, Iowa—twice! This city of 28,000 residents is taking a proactive stance to preventing hate and bullying, bringing the entire town together to say, "Not In Our Town." Here are some images from these exciting events in Marshalltown. Interested in starting your own Not In Our Town campaign? Find Marshalltown, Iowa resources in the Not In Our Town Action Kit to adapt for your community.
As part of their Not In Our Town campaign, Marshalltown, Iowa, created orange Not In Our Town T-Shirts to unify the movement and allow participants to show their support for the anti-bullying efforts in Marshalltown. The Not In Our Town community dons these shirts at events such as the Aug. 30, 2012 rally at the Marshall County Courthouse, and "orange-out" at a football game in September.  Interested in personalized t-shirts for your Not In Our Town or Not In Our School campaign? Visit our store.