Students get training on violence prevention

More than 30 MVPs were created at Marshalltown High School Thursday, but this exercise had nothing to do with sports.

A total of 35 students and staff from MHS took part in a day-long training session known as Mentors in Violence Prevention, or MVP.

The session was led by Bobby Dennis and Lynn Koch, both of Assault Care Center Extending Shelter and Support (ACCESS).

“They are learning strategies to help intervene when they see instances of violence or abuse, whether that is verbal violence, emotional violence or physical abuse,” Dennis said. “As well as that, they are learning strategies to be able to engage their peers in conversation about this abuse and violence.”

With this training, there are hopes that these students can act as a type of peer leader in one of these situations.

“It puts more people in the school that feel like they are empowered and have the ability to intervene and either say it’s not appropriate or to call a principal or staff member,” Dennis said.

Some students were selected to take part since they are involved in the MHS Not in Our Town anti-bullying initiative while others volunteered to take part in the training.

Laurie Rink, an MHS staff leader in the NIOT initiative, said this coincides with the work of the anti-bullying campaign.

“As soon as I heard of this I jumped on it because we have been looking for something real to do with our kids,” Rink said.

She said these students will take what they learned and not only help fellow students at MHS, but will also talk to students at Miller Middle School and Lenihan Intermediate School in Marshalltown.

“Our plan is for them to work with the younger kids,” Rink said.

Dennis said ACCESS serves five counties in the region including Marshall, Greene, Story, Tama and Boone. Though this MVP training has been held at other schools in the state, MHS is the first one to implement it in the agency service area.