NIOT’s work continues

There’s a lot to be proud of in Marshalltown: A vibrant arts community, a spruced up downtown, excellent schools, a growing economic base and most importantly, a commitment toward treating each other with dignity and respect.

Not In Our Town is leading the way in its anti-bullying efforts and it’s something that everyone in Marshalltown can support.

The work that NIOT has done over the past two years was eye opening to me when I moved to town. Instead of being reactive and crafting what an appropriate response would be if a young person or any resident was bullied, NIOT was proactive – what measures can our community implement so that bullying doesn’t occur in the first place.

And it makes perfect sense to do that here where diversity is at the heart of the community.

There has been a lot of attention to what NIOT has done over the course of its existence and there may be some in the community who believe the group’s work is finished.

But as we know, cultivating “a safe and inclusive community” is a task that never ends, and there are those critics who argue that bullying is just part of growing up. That argument, however, no longer works.

The advent of social media, cultural and ethnic divides and the intensely nasty rhetoric that only deepens the hurt and pain of those who are the targets of hate means bullying should never be tolerated.

NIOT continues to work on bringing our community together and it’s been my privilege to see the passion and commitment of the committee members who want to create an inclusive, welcoming community.

There are those who contend NIOT has some sort of political and/or social agenda.

But I can tell you, NIOT’s only agenda is to make sure EVERYONE feels safe, secure and respected in Marshalltown.

And that should not just be the goal of the NIOT committee, but the desire of everyone who calls Marshalltown home.

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Contact Jeff Hutton at 641-753-6611 or jhutton@timesrepublican.com