3rd Annual Iowa Anti-Bullying Symposium

3rd Annual Iowa Anti-Bullying Symposium

WHEN: Friday, October 4th | 9:00am – 3:00pm

WHERE: Iowa Events Center | 730 3rd St, Des Moines, IA 50309



HOTEL ACCOMMODATIONS: Comfort Inn Event Center | 929 3rd Street, Des Moines, IA 50309 | Click Here to Book Hotel Room

All students deserve a safe environment to learn and a supportive place to form friendships. Depression, social anxiety, loneliness, chronic absenteeism, and academic decline can all be experienced by victims of bullying. As such, sufficient bullying prevention, response, and remediation practices need to be established in our classrooms and schools to ensure all students are safe.

The mission of the 3rd Annual Iowa Anti-Bullying Symposium is to inform educators, counselors, and administrators about effective bullying remediation and intervention strategies to create safer and more welcoming school environments for all students. Starting with the basics of bullying behavior, the conference will dive into a how-to of implementing bullying interventions by looking at currently established programs throughout the state. Experts in the field will share their insights in advocating for all students, including those from marginalized and underrepresented populations, and the first-hand experiences utilizing best practices in their schools.

The 3nd Annual Iowa Anti-Bullying Symposium will take place on October 4, 2019, at the Iowa Events Center in Des Moines.


8:00-9:00am – Registration/Continental Breakfast
9:00-10:00am – Morning Keynote – Elizabeth Johnson
10:00-10:15am – Break/Meet with Exhibitors
10:15-11:15am – Workshop Session #1
11:15-11:30am – Break/Meet with Exhibit
11:30-12:30am – Workshop Session #2
12:30-1:30pm – Lunch Keynote – Dr. Ryan Wise
1:30-1:45pm – Break/Meet with Exhibitors
1:45-2:45pm – Workshop Session #3
2:45-3:15pm –  Closing Remarks

Keynote Speakers:

Elizabeth Johnson – Executive Director of the Iowa Civil Rights Commission

Elizabeth A. Johnson is the Executive Director of the Iowa Civil Rights Commission (“ICRC”). She was appointed to this position by Governor Kim Reynolds in August 2019. Elizabeth is excited for the opportunity to lead a team of dedicated individuals in working toward the ICRC’s mission– ending discrimination through effective enforcement of the Iowa Civil Rights Act.

Immediately prior to her appointment at the ICRC, Elizabeth worked as an Administrative Law Judge for Iowa Workforce Development. Elizabeth also worked previously as a Civil Rights Specialist with the ICRC, as an attorney in private practice, and as an attorney with the Iowa Department of Revenue.

Elizabeth is a graduate of Clarke (College) University, where she received a B.A. in Art History, and the University of Iowa College of Law.

We are excited to learn about the intersections between the Iowa Civil Rights Commission and anti-bullying prevention and intervention happening in our schools!



Dr. Ryan Wise – Director of the Iowa Department of Education

Dr. Ryan Wise was appointed Director of the Iowa Department of Education by Governor Terry Branstad in July 2015 and was reappointed by Governor Kim Reynolds in January 2019.  In September 2017 he was named Policy Leader of the Year by the National Association of State Boards of Educations. He is a South Dakota native and has worked in education at the local, state, national and international levels.

Wise began his career as a high school history teacher in Mississippi and Nebraska before moving to his home state of South Dakota to launch and lead Teach for America on the Rosebud and Pine Ridge Reservations. Wise also worked to eliminate educational inequity around the world as one of the founding staff members of Teach for All, a global network of education entrepreneurs.

Wise earned a doctorate in education leadership from the Harvard Graduate School of Education, a master’s degree in public administration from the University of Nebraska at Omaha, and a bachelor’s degree in history from Creighton University.

Would like to submit a presentation proposal, click here!

Workshop Sessions:

Communication and Intervention to End Harassment

Kirsten Anderson – Equitas Solutions

The MeToo movement has shone a bright light on many inequities in the modern workplace. With the spotlight on, it is time to start speaking up, drawing the line, and making workplaces safer and more engaging. This working session will focus on confidence-building, bystander intervention, and appropriate communication tactics to handle any situation that comes your way. You will be able to confidently say you turned #metoo into #Isaidsomething.

Out of the Classroom: Navigating Social Media and Cyberbullying

Dr. Rachel Young – University of Iowa

With the significant prevalence of smartphones and electronic devices, acts of bullying have expanded outside of the classroom through social. In this session, participants will reflect on current research analyzing how parents perceive the role of cyberbullying in the lives of their students. Participants will have time to discuss the results of the study and its implications in their schools and classrooms.

Safe Schools Law: Developing Anti-Bullying Policies and Procedures in Your Schools

Nicole Proesch – Attorney, Iowa Department of Education

Iowa Code provides detailed guidance for a school district to enforce bullying prevention, intervention, and remediation best practices. Legal experts will be present to provide participants with the tools they need to recognize and address bullying as defined by state law.

Legal Responses to Bullying: Recent Trends in the Classroom and the Courtroom

Daniel Van Sant – Staff Attorney, Disability Rights Iowa

Attendees will learn about legal obligations when responding to incidents of bullying as well as how courts have been ruling on bullying cases.

Bullying Prevention Panel

Polk County Attorney Restorative Justice

Participants will learn about key insights on bullying intervention from a panel of experts in the field, including a School Resource Officer, Prosecutor, Victim Liaison, and Mediator. Participants will be able to see how all of these individuals collaborate together to successful intervene on a reported bullying incident, and they will be able to gain important information to take back to their school districts.

Schoolwide Pride Guide: Advancing Bullying Prevention through Children’s Books

Mark Busch – Director of Education, Iowa Safe Schools

While a majority of educators feel confident in addressing acts of bullying in the classroom, they feel ill-equipped to frame anti-bullying conversations around important social justice issues, particularly those concerning LGBTQ students. In this session, a professional development specialist will share lesson plans that provide elementary educators an opportunity to discuss bullying prevention and LGBTQ issues in the classroom. Participants will have the time to reflect on their own teaching and gain access to dynamic classroom resources.

That’s A Red Card: Bullying in the Extracurricular Environment

Dana Van Renterghem – GSA Coordinator, Iowa Safe Schools

Bullying can occur both inside and outside the classroom, and one of the major sources of reported incidents of bullying occurs during extracurricular activities. In this session, participants will learn how to create a safe and supportive team environment. Participants will learn about the protections students have when involved in extracurricular activities, and best practices and resources for bullying intervention and prevention will be shared.

Bullying in the Workplace: Dispute Resolution Between Educators

Thomas Mayes – Attorney, Iowa Department of Education

Significant progress has been made to minimize acts of bullying between students in the classroom, but what happens when it happens between adults. In this workshop, participants will analyze acts of bullying between teachers, administrators, and other educators. Participants will walk away with the tools and resources they need to prevent and address educational disputes.

Intervention and Remediation through Healing Circles

Dee Martin – “Let’s Talk” Mediator/Circle Keeper, AMOS “Let’s Talk”

The aim of restorative justice is to heal the harm done by the offender and rehabilitate the offender to avoid future bullying harm. In this session, participants will learn how to integrate healing circles and intentional conversations into their bullying intervention and remediation plans to decrease the instances of bullying. A healing circle facilitator from Iowa will be present to answer any questions participants may have.

Bullying and the Bully Pulpit: How to Engage Students in Productive Political Discourse

Damian Thompson – Public Policy Manager, Iowa Safe Schools

In an increasingly partisan environment, students can become victims of bullying as a result of their political beliefs, party affiliations, or candidate supports. While we want to engage our students in relevant political discourse in the classroom, it can often shift into polarizing arguments that can be difficult to facilitate or acts of bullying. In this session, the public policy manager for Iowa Safe Schools will share about the current political climate and how it is shaping political conversations in our classrooms. Participants will be given resources to best facilitate civil discourse and political conversations in their classrooms.

Roughly 200 educators and community advocates from across the state are expected to attend this year’s conference. Are you interested in exhibiting at the 3rd Annual Iowa Anti-Bullying Symposium? Click here to register as an exhibitor.