3rd Annual Iowa Anti-Violence Symposium

3rd Annual Iowa Anti-Violence VIRTUAL Symposium

The Iowa Anti-Violence Symposium is being postponed for Monday, May 4th, and has shifted to a completely ONLINE format!

We know that you’re probably wondering what this means for you. So, here’s what you need to know: on Monday May 4th you’ll get access to an online platform full of every workshop leader video, activity, and conversation that you would have been able to be a part of at the in-person symposium. As an additional bonus, you’ll have ongoing access to the modules, and no time-restraints, so you won’t have to pick-and-choose which content to watch—you can have it all!

We’ll follow up with more details soon, but for now, please know that we remain dedicated to supporting Iowa’s educators in creating safe and supportive environments for all! 

WHEN: Monday, May 4th | 9:00am – 3:00pm WHERE: We’ve Gone Virtual! 

REGISTRATION: Click Here for Attendee Registration

All students deserve a safe environment to learn and a supportive place to form friendships. Violence inside school, at home, in relationships, and in communities are significant barriers which stand in the way of students feeling safe and supported while also receiving a quality academic and scholastic experience. The mission of the 3rd Annual Iowa Anti-Violence Symposium is to inform educators, counselors, and administrators about effective violence prevention and response strategies to create safer and more welcoming school environments for all students. This conference will feature experts in the field sharing best practices on gender-based violence, domestic violence, identity-based violence, and violence prevention. Attendees will leave with all the tools they need to foster safety and security for all.


8:00-9:00am – Registration/Continental Breakfast

9:00-9:45am – Morning Keynote

9:45-10:00am – Break/Meet with Exhibitors

10:00-11:00am – Workshop Session #1

11:00-11:15am – Break/Meet with Exhibit

11:15am-12:15pm – Workshop Session #2

12:15-1:15pm – Lunch Keynote

1:15-1:30pm – Break/Meet with Exhibitors

1:30-2:30pm – Workshop Session #3

2:30-2:45pm – Break/Meet with Exhibitors

2:45-3:00pm – Closing Remarks

Morning Keynote

Brandon Wolf – Pulse Nightclub Shooting

On June 12, life changed for Brandon Wolf. He hid in a bathroom while a gunman opened fire in Orlando’s Pulse Nightclub, killing his best friends, Drew Leinonen & Juan Guerrero, and 47 others. Rather than be swallowed by the anger and fear of tragedy, Brandon set out to honor the victims’ legacies with action. For the past three years, Brandon has served as co-founder and Vice President of The Dru Project, a nonprofit organization that works to empower youth and enable future leaders in the LGBTQ community. To date, The Dru Project has awarded nearly $50,000 in college funding to LGBTQ leaders, written the country’s most comprehensive Gay Straight Alliance student club guidebook, and supported LGBTQ young people in countries across the world. Brandon has been a surrogate for multiple political campaigns, remaining committed to lending an intersectional voice to political narratives. In 2018, he joined Parkland students in demanding change in Tallahassee and Washington, DC and is a regular guest on national news networks and print publications advocating for common sense gun safety reform and LGBTQ civil rights. Brandon currently serves as the Media Relations Manager for Equality Florida, the state’s largest LGBTQ advocacy organization, and fights to uproot hate and bigotry and secure full equality for all.

Lunchtime Keynote

A Q&A Panel on Violence Prevention

In this panel, representatives from the Iowa Department of Education and University of Northern Iowa Center for Violence Prevention will discuss the work Iowa K-12 schools are doing in violence prevention work, the barriers is educating youth, and the best practices for implementing this work in schools and classrooms.

Workshop Descriptions:

How To Help Students in Moments of Crisis

Crisis Intervention & Advocacy Center – Kacey Barrow, Hannah Vander Kopsa & Shannon Harris

In moments of crisis, students need immediate supports to remove them from a potentially dangerous situation. In this session, specialists will outline the process of providing immediate crisis interventions and how educators can provide classroom supports.

A Community Based Approach to Gun Violence Prevention: Overcoming Trauma and Engaging Students, Mothers and Others

Moms Demand Action

The every day reality of gun violence in our communities is costing Iowan lives and leaving a traumatic path in its wake.  Volunteer leadership with Moms Demand Action will be sharing recent data on the reality and impact of active shooter trainings and offer evidence based approaches like a school safety toolkit that provides a hands-on opportunity for student and educator engagement.  

Sex Trafficking and Our Youth

The Set Me Free Project – Madison Kuhn

Madison Kuhn, District Lead Educator, will discuss the real dangers surrounding sex trafficking in the United States. Participants will be able to identify the different forms of human trafficking, including sex trafficking and labor trafficking and how prevalent it is in Iowa communities. They will demonstrate an ability to identify the vulnerabilities of an individual who could be targeted. Participants will discuss and illustrate what the multi-step grooming process looks like and be able to identify tactics used by traffickers. Participants will discuss cases in Iowa and how trust was the primary luring tactic. Presentation will include interactive activities and discussion to aid attendees in more understanding of this pervasive topic.

Strategies to Reduce Seclusion and Restraint in Public School

Cedar Rapids Polk Alternative Education Center – Ben Grose

In this presentation, participants will understand the overall picture of seclusion and restraint in US public schools and present strategies to reduce numbers of incidents. Participants will also learn about Post-Seclusion Debriefing, a proactive strategy that any school or organization can employ. Overall, participants will walk away with best practices and de-escalation strategies that all school building staff could employ.

When Gender Matters: A Practical Critique and Response to Violence Prevention Efforts in Iowa’s Secondary Schools

University of Northern Iowa Center for Violence Prevention – Alan Heistercamp & Michael Fleming

Bullying and gender violence prevention programming and initiatives are most effective when implemented universally across entire grade levels or student populations, yet, women and girls overwhelmingly take the initiative and responsibility for raising awareness and implementing strategies to address these issues. Facilitators, educators and discussion leaders representing all genders, i.e., male-identified, female-identified and non-gender conforming individuals are critical to the success and transformation of school cultures whereby all students are made to feel valued and are treated with dignity and respect. This session will highlight gender disparities and gaps related to awareness, prevention and perpetration of violence and harassment; engage participants in hands-on activities around gender roles and stereotypes; and demonstrate why the topic of gender truly matters when it comes to developing and adopting violence prevention programming to challenge existing social norms that support harm and abuse.

The Do’s, Don’ts, Complaints & Compliances of Title IX

Iowa Department of Education – Thomas Mayes

BIn this workshop, attendees will receive an overview of Title IX, as well as best practices for responding to complaints potentially affected by it. A legal expert in the field will guide participants through the complexities of Title IX and the ways educators and service providers can a best support students in the midst of sexual assault and sex-based discrimination.

Violence Prevention in the LatinX Community

Iowa Department of Human Rights Office of Latino Affairs  – Sonia Reyes

In this workshop, participants will explore the unique barriers affecting the LatinX community in anti-violence work and violence prevention. Resources will be provided to help participants establish prevention measures and provide supports in their classrooms and communities.

Supporting LGBTQ Survivors of Violence

Iowa Safe Schools  – Jordan Mix

Compared to their heterosexual and cisgender counterparts, LGBTQ youth continue to face higher risks of physical violence and sexual assault. In this session, Iowa Safe School’s Education Coordinator will talk about the rates of victimization of LGBTQ youth, effective supports for LGBTQ survivors of violence, and applicable resources and methods to prevent sexual violence towards LGBTQ youth.

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-Violence Symposium? Click Here to Staff an Exhibitor Booth.