School Starts August 23

The first day of school is Monday, August 23. We are looking forward to the start of the 21-22 school year. Please continue reading to find out important information about registration, bussing/transportation, and much more. Be sure to enjoy the rest of your summer and we will see you soon. GO DAWGS!

Don't forget that Back to School Night is on Thursday, August 19 from 4:30-6:00 p.m. Stop in and meet your teachers and check out your classrooms.

The rest of the 21-22 School Calendar is available for download below.

Registration Information


If you have registered your children already, the online registration procedures are below. We ask that parents complete student registration by ASAP. Registrations are very important in helping us prepare for the upcoming school year.

If you have any questions, email Sandy at sandy.coffin@vmbulldogs.com. She will be able to help you out or to get you connected with the appropriate person.

***The payment portal is available at https://vmbulldogs.revtrak.net/***

Thanks for getting your children registered!


2021-22 Registration will take place online through the Infinite Campus Parent Portal.


Current Families/Students in the District:

  • Log into your Infinite Campus Parent Portal
  • On the left-hand side of the screen, click MORE, then click on ONLINE REGISTRATION
  • Enter user name & password

If you do not have your username or password or have forgotten either, please contact:

Sandy Coffin sandy.coffin@vmbulldogs.com

Mike Linde mike.linde@vmbulldogs.com

New Families Moving Into The District:

  • Please contact Sandy in the VM Business Office for the New Student Registration Link.

Email Sandy if you have any other questions.

Have a great rest of your summer!

School Arrival/Dismissal Times and Transportation- Anyone needing to ride the bus should fill out the linked survey!

The District will provide busing to students who live on the west side of Van Meter, Crestview, or in other areas that are too far to walk to and from school. David Johnson at david.johnson@vmbulldogs.com will be getting all route information out in the next few weeks if not sooner.

We need all families planning to ride the busses to complete this survey ASAP. Even if you have ridden in the past, please fill this survey out.

Transportation Director, David Johnson has contacted families who require bus transportation with more information, but in general, here is what you can expect:

  • Seating will be assigned by the bus drivers.
  • At this time, no one is required to wear a mask while on the bus, but that could change.
  • We will pick up rural students and drop them off at the school first. Pick-up times have been emailed by David Johnson. If you still don't know your pickup time, email David at david.johnson@vmbulldogs.com
  • Busses will then pick up Crestview, west Van Meter, and Daycare students at 7:55 a.m. and drop them off at the school.
  • Parents can start dropping kids off at 7:55 a.m. Families with last names beginning with the letters A-K use the elementary side. Families with last names beginning with the letters K-Z use the secondary side of the building to drop off their children.
  • At 3:05 p.m., students who walk home from school will be dismissed.
  • At approximately 3:10 p.m., Daycare, Crestview, and west Van Meter student bus riders will be dismissed from school and taken to their dropoffs
  • At approximately, 3:20 p.m. rural student bus riders will be dismissed and taken to their homes.
  • At 3:30, students who are getting picked up by their parents will be dismissed. Mr. Tibbetts and Mr. Lamoureux will provide more specific information on what pickup and drop-off will look like. Parents should not arrive prior to 3:20 p.m. to pick their child up from school.
  • The start time for HS students is 8:45 a.m HS students shouldn't arrive prior to 8:45 unless they have an early morning class.
  • Any early dismissal will be adjusted to the corresponding times. i.e. 1:05 pm instead of 3:05 pm, etc.

School Lunches in 21-22

Basic school breakfasts and lunches will continue to be free for all students in the 21-22 school year. There will be al a carte and snack items for purchase throughout the year as well. Contact Haley Lincoln our new Food Services Director at haley.lincoln@vmbulldogs.com with any questions.

Get Involved

We have four organizations that do a great job of supporting Van Meter Schools. They are always looking for members. Be sure to reach out to them if you are interested in helping out.

Van Meter Education Foundation- Contact Lawrence Yazzie at law.yaz@icloud.com

Van Meter Elementary Parent Committee Contact Amy Giesking at amy.giesking@gmail.com

Van Meter Performing Arts Boosters Contact Kris Koster at kris.koster@vmbulldogs.com

Van Meter Athletic Boosters Contact Wendy Kelly at vmathleticboosters@gmail.com

School Board Election

Van Meter CSD will have 3 seats open for the school board election this fall. Candidate filing begins on Monday, August 23 and the deadline to enter is by 5:00 p.m. on Thursday, September 16. The election for the four year term is Tuesday, November 2. More information about being a school board member can be found at the Iowa Association of School Board’s website. Email me at deron.durflinger@vmbulldogs.com if you have any questions.

COVID-19 Mitigation

In May, the IDPH released new guidance for Iowa schools in regards to COVID-19. We will continue to follow the guidance of the Dallas County Health Department, IDPH, and CDC. With that said, we are not expecting students or staff to wear masks while at school to start the school year unless they choose to wear one. However, we do expect students to stay home when sick or if they have tested positive for COVID-19. Please continue to do your part to keep others safe. More information can be found in the attached IDPH document below.

Annual Notifications

The following information pertains to all of the District's annual notifications to families.

Equity Statement

No student enrolled in the Van Meter Community School District shall be excluded from participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination in the District's programs on the basis of race, color, creed, sex, religion, marital status (for the program), ethnic background, national origin, disability, sexual orientation, gender identity, age (for employment) or socio-economic background (for the program). The policy of the District shall be to provide educational programs and opportunities for students as needed on the basis of individual interests, values, abilities, and potential. The District has adopted a grievance policy and procedure for any alleged violation of policy concerned with such discrimination. The equity coordinator is Kristi Powers. Inquiries regarding equity compliance should be directed to Ms. Powers at Van Meter Community School District, Box 257, Van Meter, Iowa 50261, by telephone at (515) 996-9960, or by email at kristi.powers@ymbulldogs.com

Teacher Qualifications

Parents/guardians in the Van Meter Community School District have the right to learn about the following qualifications of their child's teacher: state licensure requirements for the grade level and content areas taught, the current licensing status of your child's teacher, and baccalaureate/graduate certification/degree. You may also request the qualification of an instructional paraprofessional who serves in a title I program or if your school operates a school-wide Title I program.

Parents/Guardians may request this information from the Office of the Superintendent by calling (515) 996-2221 or by sending a letter of request to the Office of the Superintendent, Box 257, Van Meter, Iowa 50261

Right under the Protection of Pupil Rights Amendment (PPRA)

PPRA affords parents and students who are 18 or emancipated minors ("eligible students”) certain rights regarding our conduct of surveys, collection and use of information for marketing purposes, and certain physical exams. These include the right to:

Consent before students are required to submit to a survey that concerns one or more of the following protected areas (“protected information survey') if the survey is funded in whole or in part by a program of the U.S Department of Education -

1. Political affiliations or beliefs of the student or student's parent;

2. Mental or psychological problems of the student or student's family;

3. Sex behavior or attitudes;

4. Illegal, anti-social, self-incriminating, or demeaning behavior;

5. Critical appraisals of others with whom respondents have close family relationships,

6. Legally recognized privileged relationships, such as with lawyers, doctors, or ministers.

7. Religious practices, affiliations, or beliefs of the student or parents; or

8. Income, other than as required by law to determine program eligibility.

Receive notice and an opportunity to opt a student out of

9. Any other protected information survey, regardless of funding;

10. Any non-emergency, invasive physical exam or screening required as a condition of attendance, administered by the school or its agent, and not necessary to protect the immediate health and safety of a student, except for hearing, vision, or scoliosis screenings, or any physical exam or screening permitted or required under State Law; and

11. Activities involving collection, disclosure, or use of personal information obtained from students for marketing or to sell or otherwise distribute the information to others. Inspect, upon request and before administration or use

12. Protected information surveys of students;

13. Instruments used to collect personal information from students for any of the above marketing, sales, or other distribution purposes; and

14. Instructional material used as part of the educational curriculum.

Van Meter Community School will also directly notify parents and eligible students at the start of each school year of the specific or approximate dates of the following activities and provide an opportunity to opt a student out of participating in:

  • Collection, disclosure, or use of personal information for marketing, sales, or other distribution.
  • Administration of any protected information survey not funded in whole or in part by ED.
  • Any non-emergency, invasive physical examination or screening as described above.

Parents/eligible students who believe their rights have been violated may file a complaint with:

Family Policy Compliance Office

U.S. Department of Education

400 Maryland Avenue, SW

Washington, D.C. 20202-4605

Student Records Policy

The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) affords parents and students over 18 years of age (“eligible students”) certain rights with respect to the student's education records. These rights are:

  1. The right to inspect and review the student's education records within 45 days of the day the school receives a request for access. Parents or eligible students should submit to the school principal a written request that identifies the record(s) they wish to inspect. The principal will make arrangements for access and notify the parent or eligible student of the time and place where the records may be inspected.
  2. The right to request the amendment of the student's education records that the parent or eligible student believes are inaccurate. Parents or eligible students may ask the school to amend a record that they believe is inaccurate. They should write the school principal, clearly identify the part of the record they want changed, and specify why it is inaccurate. If the school decides not to amend the record as requested by the parent or eligible student, the school will notify the parent or eligible student of the decision and advise them of their right to a hearing regarding the request for amendment. Additional information regarding the hearing procedures will be provided to the parent or eligible student when notified of the right to a hearing.
  3. The right to consent to disclosures of personally identifiable information contained in the student's education records, except to the extent that FERPA authorizes disclosure without consent. One exception, which permits disclosure without consent, is disclosure to school officials with legitimate educational interests. A school official is a person employed by the School as an administrator, supervisor, instructor, or support staff member (including health or medical staff and law enforcement unit personnel); a person serving on the school board; a person or company with whom the school has contracted to perform a special task (such as an attorney, auditor, medical consultant, or therapist); or a parent or student serving on an official committee, such as a disciplinary or grievance committee, or assisting another school official in performing his or her tasks. A school official has a legitimate educational interest if the official needs to review an education record in order to fulfill his or her professional responsibility. Upon request, the school discloses education records without consent to officials of another school district in which a student seeks or intends to enroll.
  4. The right to file a complaint with the U.S. Department of Education concerning alleged failures by the Van Meter School District to comply with the requirements of FERPA. The name and address of the Office that administers FERPA is:

Family Policy Compliance Office

U.S. Department of Education 400 Maryland Avenue, SW

Washington, DC 20202-4605

Release of Student Information Directory Information

The following information may be released to the public in regard to any student of the school district as necessity or desirability arises name, address, telephone listing, date and place of birth, major field of study, participation in officially recognized activities and sports, weight and height of members of athletic teams, dates of attendance, degrees, and awards received, the most recent previous school or institution attended by the student, photographs and other likenesses including videotapes, and other similar information.

Any student, parent, or guardian not wanting this information released to the public must make an objection in writing to the principal. It is necessary to renew this objection by September 15th of each school year or within two weeks of the student's enrollment.

Military Recruiters on Campus and Access to Students Recruiting

The United States military has the same access to students as any other organization Periodically, military recruiters will visit the Van Meter High School to talk to students. While no students will be forced to meet with the military recruiters, students will be notified that the recruiters are on campus and be given an opportunity to meet with them. Parents and/or guardians that do not want their child to meet with the recruiters need to contact the High School Office and make a written request that communicates that desire.

Additionally, military recruiters and/or institutions of higher learning will be provided, upon their request, with access to secondary school students' names, addresses, and telephone listings. A secondary student or the parent of the student may request that the student's name, address, and telephone listing not be released without prior written parental consent by contacting the High School office.

Parental Involvement in Title I

Parental involvement is an important component in a student's success in school. Board Policy 505.8 establishes an advisory committee that includes parents with the responsibility to annually review the school's Title I Parent Involvement Plan and process for improvement.

Human Growth and Development

The Van Meter Community School District has identified Human Growth and Development curriculum units that are infused throughout our curriculum. An outline of these units and their objectives is available to parents/guardians for every grade and subject level. Parents/guardians may examine this curriculum and the teaching materials at any time. If parents find topics objectionable, they may choose to remove their children from class during the discussion of these topics. Please contact the grade level principal.

Free and Reduced Lunches

Families that meet federal guidelines can qualify for free or reduced lunches. Forms to make application for free or reduced lunches may be picked up at the Business Office after August 1st.

Fee Waivers

Students whose families meet the income guidelines for free and reduced-price lunch, the Family Investment Program (FIP), Supplemental Security Income (SSI), transportation assistance under open enrollment, or who are in foster care are eligible to have their student fees waived or partially waived. Students whose families are experiencing a temporary financial difficulty may be eligible for a temporary waiver of student fees. Parents or students who believe they may qualify for fee waivers can pick up waiver forms in the Business Office. This waiver does not carry over from year to year and must be completed annually.

Homeless Students

In accordance with Chapter 33, Iowa Administrative code, the Van Meter Community School District encourages homeless children and youth to enroll in school. For information, please contact Deron Durflinger, Superintendent at (515) 996-2221.

Early Graduation

Students may graduate prior to the completion of grade twelve if the course work required for graduation under board policy “Graduation Requirements” has been fulfilled. The application must be completed by April 1st of their junior year. Students who graduate early cannot participate in any school activities except commencement.


Under administrative rules adopted by the State Board of Education to implement Iowa's post-secondary enrollment options act, it is possible for ninth and tenth TAG students and for juniors and seniors to enroll in eligible college credit courses offered by our state universities, area community colleges, and accredited private colleges and receive credit toward graduation. The Van Meter Community School District will pay up to $250 for each eligible college course taken and passed during the regular year (not summer school). Van Meter School will assume ownership of any equipment and/or materials it purchases for student use. Students may enroll only in nonsectarian, credit-bearing courses that lead to an educational degree and are not comparable to courses offered by the local school district. If you have questions regarding this Act, please contact the school counselor or principal.

Open Enrollment Notification

Parents and guardians considering the use of the open enrollment option to enroll their children in another public school district in the state of Iowa should be aware of the following date: March 1st is the last date for regular open enrollment requests for the following school year. If good cause exists, requests may be approved after March 1st.

Parents should be aware that open enrollment may result in the loss of athletic eligibility. Parents and guardians of open enrolled students who qualify economically may be eligible for transportation assistance. This may be in the form of actual transportation or in the form of a cash stipend. For further details, contact the Business Office at 996-9960.

Parent Notice for Home-school Dual Enrollment

Please contact the Business Office if you need forms for homeschooling and/or dual enrollment. These forms should be returned to the Business Office by the first day of school.

Student Handbooks

Both Elementary and Secondary school handbooks are available on the school website at www.vmbulldogs.com. A hard copy of the handbooks can be obtained by contacting the principals' offices at 996-2221.

Administration of Medication to Students

School people are often asked to administer prescription drugs to children during the school day. These procedures need to be followed before prescription medication can be administered at school:

  1. Written instructions over the prescribing doctor's or dentist's signature, including the name of the drug, the amount to be given, the times it is to be given, the length of time (number of days) the child will need to take the drug, and the name of the child must be on file before any medication is given.
  2. The medication should be sent in the original prescription container.
  3. Written permission from the parent must be on file at school. Permission must be given each year.

The above information applies only to prescription drugs purchased with a prescription. Assistance will be given with non-prescription medicine. Please contact the school nurse, Katie Hovda at (515) 996-2221 with the request and permission and assistance may be given.

School Bus Videotaping

Van Meter Community School reserves the right to use video cameras on school district buses to monitor student behavior in order to promote and maintain a safe environment. Students and parents are hereby notified that the content of the videotapes may be used in student disciplinary proceedings. Videotapes will be retained only if necessary for use in student disciplinary proceedings or other matters as determined by the administration. Parents may request to view videotapes of their child if the videotapes are used in a disciplinary proceeding involving their child.

Presence of Asbestos within District Buildings-Annual Notification

Van Meter Community School contracts with federally certified inspectors, planners, and public health and engineering consultants to work in conjunction with school administrative personnel to identify asbestos-containing products in school buildings. Asbestos is a mineral fiber associated with increased levels of disease when inhaled. After reviewing the characteristics of district buildings, a management plan has been developed for each building, a copy of which is maintained at the Business Office. The detailed plan and updated information is open to public review. If you have any questions or would like to review the management plans and updated materials, please contact Deron Durflinger, Superintendent at 996 2221.

District Asbestos Activity Summary: The District has continued to respond to the asbestos in the school in a cautious and proactive manner. A comprehensive investigation of asbestos containing material was conducted in all district buildings during October of 2011. Further, the District will continue with the ongoing asbestos operations and maintenance program including periodic surveillance (to be conducted every six months). The District's ongoing effort related to the management and control of asbestos containing material is designed toward providing a safe and healthy environment for students, employees, and occupants.

School Closings due to Inclement Weather

Postponements and/or cancellations of school for inclement weather and/or road conditions will be based upon a sampling of roadways within the school district as well as weather reports and feedback from road crews and law enforcement. Van Meter Community School cannot know the conditions of all roads within the school district at the time decisions are made to postpone or cancel school. At times, parents and/or guardians may have to use their own discretion regarding road conditions and the advisability of sending their children to school. Absences resulting from parents/guardians decisions to keep their children home due to safety issues will be excused.

Harassment/Bullying Policy

Van Meter Community School prohibits harassment, bullying, hazing, or any other victimization of students, base on any of the following or perceived traits or characteristics, including but not limited to age, color, creed, national origin, race, religion, marital status, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, physical attributes, physical or mental ability or disability, ancestry, political party preference, political belief, socioeconomic status, or familial status. Board policy regarding this topic can be accessed through the superintendent's office. Secondary principal, Adam Lamoureux (996-2221), and Elementary principal, Cody Tibbetts (996-2221), are the contact persons for concerns regarding harassment and/or bullying for their respective grade levels.

Abuse of Students by a School Employee

As directed by Chapter 102 of the Iowa Code, the Van Meter Community School District has appointed a designated investigator responsible for the investigation of all allegations regarding the abuse of students by school employees. Categories of abuse are the following:

  • Physical abuse by intentional infliction of injury or excessive force.
  • Sexual abuse by sexual offenses or misconduct or encouraging prostitution.

The designated Level I investigator for the abuse of students by district employees is Rick Roberts. The alternative investigator is Katie Hovda. Both Mr. Roberts and Ms. Hovda may be reached at (515) 996-2221. The Level II investigator is the Dallas County Sheriff Department - (515) 993-4771.

A Guide for Parents regarding Sexual Harassment, Abuse, and Assault

The Iowa legislature has directed the Iowa Department of Education to provide all lowa schools with materials and a list of resources that parents can use to teach their children to recognize and reject unwanted physical and verbal sexual harassment and assault. The following information is reflective of the Department of Education's materials. For more information on sexual violence go to: www.icyd.org

All families want their children to grow up to be safe, healthy, and successful. However, sexual violence can happen to any child or youth and is much more common than we have believed. Preventing sexual violence is part of helping your child or youth grow up to be a confident and competent adult. This form of violence prevention can be addressed at an early age similar to the ways parents teach bicycle safety, protect children from poisoning, or prepare them to be good drivers.

What is Sexual Harassment?

Sexual harassment consists of unwelcome visual, verbal or physical behavior of a sexual nature that interferes with a per son's education. Sexual harassment is illegal — Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972 prohibits sex discrimination, including sexual harassment. (As defined by the Iowa Civil Rights Commission.)

There are two types of harassment:

1) When a person in authority demands sexual favors in return for a benefit for the child or youth, or

2) When a child or youth is subjected to sexual conduct that creates an offensive, hostile or intimidating atmosphere.

Sexual harassment can include behaviors such as:

  • Making sexual comments, jokes, gestures, or commenting about a person's body or sex life;
  • Looking or staring at a person in a sexual manner;
  • Touching, grabbing, pinching, or brushing up against someone in a sexual way;
  • Flashing or mooning;
  • Spreading rumors about a person's activities or relationships;
  • Blocking passage in a sexually suggestive or offensive way;
  • Writing sexual messages, love notes, or sexual graffiti;
  • Pulling clothing down or off;
  • Calling a person a sexual name;
  • Spying on someone or using camera phones to take pictures of someone while showering or dressing;
  • Forcing kisses or other sexual advances;
  • Forcing someone to look at sexual pictures or materials;
  • Using computers, text messaging, or other technologies to circulate demeaning information or pictures.

What is Sexual Abuse?

Sexual abuse refers to forced or coerced sexual behavior that may occur more than once, often within a trusting relationship. Most victims know their perpetrators. Children cannot consent to sexual contact with adults or older youth, and sexual contact is considered abuse, regardless of whether it includes touching or not. Child sexual abuse is a persistent and hidden problem in our society that produces long-term and devastating effects on its victims and their families. Sexual abuse of children is against the law and should be reported to law enforcement or to child protection authorities.

Sexual abuse can involve a series of behaviors such as:

  • A trusted adult or older family member spends time regularly with a child. The adult appears to be very caring and generous with his/her time and possibly gives the child extra attention or gifts.
  • The adult may begin to test the child's boundaries by sexually touching him/her in ways that are non-threatening or may happen as part of a game.
  • Over time, the touching becomes more involved and may result in masturbation or intercourse.
  • The abuse may continue as long as the child likes the attention, believes the behavior is normal, does not feel hurt or threatened, or does not believe he/she will be believed if they tell. The child may, in some circumstances, even defend the perpetrator when asked if anything is going on."

Most children or youth do not want to talk about the abuse directly. They may have been told that no one will believe them or that they will get into trouble. A child is more likely to say something like, "Janey's brother is weird sometimes. I don't like going over to their house." They may not acknowledge the sexual abuse unless they are specifically asked or know that they will be believed.

What is Sexual Assault? Sexual assault is any forced or unwanted sexual contact or activity. It may also involve verbal or visual behaviors, or any type of pressure designed to coerce or force someone to join in the unwanted sexual contact or activity. Typically, this type of abuse occurs one time rather than being repeated over time as with sexual abuse. It can be perpetrated by an acquaintance, friend, dating partner, stranger, family member, or other persons in a position of authority over the child or youth such as counselors, therapists, teachers, or clergy.

Sexual assault can occur in the form of touching, such as:

  • Being asked or forced to touch "private parts” or having their “private parts” touched;
  • Playing sexual games;
  • Having oral, genital, or anal intercourse or penetration with objects or body parts;
  • Forcing a child/youth into prostitution.

Sexual assault can also occur as nontouching sexual activity, such as:

  • Sharing pornographic material; Exposing oneself to a child/youth;
  • Inappropriately photographing a child/youth in sexual poses;
  • Forcing or encouraging a child/youth to watch or hear sexual acts;
  • Verbally or emotionally assaulting a child/youth in a sexual nature (e.g., making fun of a child's body parts, calling a child “slut” or “stud”);
  • Placing/sending obscene telephone calls or e-mails;
  • Asking a child/youth for a sexual act.

Prevention Tips for Families Just as we want to prevent accidents from happening to our loved ones, we want to prevent sexual violence from happening to someone we love. Here are some basic prevention tips to help minimize a child's risk of sexual violence.

  • Just as with other important topics such as alcohol use or smoking, having a strong line of open communication with your children is critical.
  • It is important to introduce the idea of age-appropriate body safety early. Talk about touches that are good (such as hugs or petting a dog), touches that are hurtful (such as being hit, shoved, or pinched), and touches that may be confusing (being touched on your private parts, even if it feels good). Let them know when it is OK for private parts to be touched (such as changing a baby's diaper, during bath time, or at a doctor visit).
  • Help your children develop skills in assertiveness and self-protection—so they can feel more prepared if they are in a situation where they need to resist someone's advances. Children of all ages need to know they have your permission to tell someone NO if they don't like the way they are being touched.
  • Teach them proper terms for private body parts and talk about appropriate boundaries in touching or being touched by others. Reinforce with your children that no one should ever trick them into being touched and encourage your child/youth to speak up and tell you or another trusted adult if it would ever happen to him or her.
  • Encourage your child to respect others' boundaries — and respect your child's boundaries.
  • Develop a “safety plan” so your children know what to do if they are ever in a frightening or dangerous situation.
  • Know with whom your child or youth spends time, and what they are doing.
  • Caution your child/youth about anyone who tries to trick him/her into getting into a car or doing something sexual for favors.
  • Carefully screen babysitters and caregivers.
  • Do not allow your child or youth to use the Internet without appropriate supervision and clearly established guidelines.
  • Talk about healthy dating relationships.
  • Confirm that there is always adult supervision at teenage parties.
  • Understand that an abuser could be someone you know and trust.

Red Flags - What to look for as a family member if your child or youth is being sexually harassed, abused, or assaulted:

Does your child/youth...

  • Avoid school, want to stay home, or cut class;
  • No longer show interest in an activity, club, or events that were previously important;
  • Experience increased behavior problems (“acting out”) at school;
  • Suddenly have consistently lower grades on a test or in a class;
  • Want to change schools or even drop out;
  • Find it hard to pay attention, show signs of being socially withdrawn or depressed;
  • Have a loss of appetite or stomachache with no discernible reason;
  • Have difficulty sleeping, seem afraid of the dark, or have recurring nightmares;
  • Seem to act more “babyish” or behave in childish ways that are not typical; Act more clingy or insecure;
  • Show anxiety of fear of certain people, places, or situations or decreased trust in you or others;
  • Sudden mood swings or frequent crying spells;
  • Act more aggressive, display increased anger, or engage in abusive behavior towards other children, siblings, or a family pet;
  • Have new words for body parts or seem to have an unusual knowledge or interest in sexual matters for his/her age;
  • Appear to express affection in inappropriate ways for his/her age or use inappropriate sexual comments, jokes, and/or gestures in their social interactions or play.
  • Display a greater sense of secretiveness or is more often about what they are doing or who they are with.

What to do if you suspect your child/youth is a victim of sexual harassment, abuse, or as sault:

Sexual Harassment

  • Listen to what your child or youth tells you with an open mind don't be too quick to judge them.
  • Don't ignore the harassment;
  • it usually doesn't go away by itself and may get worse if no action is taken.
  • Report it to school administration or someone in charge of the child's/youth activity. If the institution does not take prompt action to stop and resolve the harassment after you have reported it to them, file a complaint with an outside agency such as the Iowa Civil Rights Commission.
  • Encourage your child or youth to tell the harasser in person or in writing:
  1. the specific actions or words that make
  2. them uncomfortable; that the behavior is not welcome; and
  3. that the behavior must stop.
  • Keep a written record of the incidents of harassment.
  • If your child or youth reports harassment of a friend, direct and support their efforts to get help for this friend.

Sexual Abuse

  • Ask open-ended questions that provide you with more information than yes or no questions. Example: What happened next? Tell me about it. Listen and allow your child/youth to talk. Remain calm. If you become visibly upset, your child may think you are mad at him/her and may try to change his/her story to please you. Praise or support your child/youth for telling you about the abuse. Reassure your child/youth that the abuse was not his/her fault.
  • Avoid placing blame on your child/youth for something the abuser is responsible for.
  • Avoid questions/words that might influence the child's story, such as “He made you touch him, didn't he?"
  • Take steps to prevent your child/youth from being alone with the suspected abuser.
  • Seek help or counseling for your child/youth and others as needed.
  • Contact the child abuse reporting hotline or the sexual abuse hotline to discuss what steps you may need to take to report the abuse.
  • Don't leave a child/youth alone with someone you suspect is abusing them.
  • Don't just listen to the abuser's side of the story.
  • Remember, sexual abuse of children is against the law and should be reported to law enforcement or to child pro tection authorities.

Sexual Assault

  • Support and comfort your child/youth and help him/her feel safe.
  • Listen calmly and ask questions without judgment until you have all the facts.
  • Tell your child/youth that you believe him/her, even if the story is not entirely consistent children/youth rarely make up stories of assault.
  • Seek medical assistance as soon as possible to assure your child/ youth is okay and to collect evidence (you can go to a local emergency room or call 911 for information).
  • Seek crisis services or counseling for your child/youth and other family members (may also be available at the hospital).
  • Report the sexual assault (and the name of the offender, if known) to law enforcement authorities.

What to do if you suspect your child/youth is sexually harassing or abusing another child:

Sexual Harassment

  • Talk with him/her about your expectations for his/her behavior in clear and certain terms.
  • Reinforce your expectations with clear consequences for his/her actions and follow-up to ensure that the behavior has stopped.


  • Be informed about normal sexual development so you can tell the difference between "curiosity” and behaviors that may indicate sexual abuse.
  • Approach your child in a calm, nonjudgmental manner to ask him/her about your suspicions--try to get a clear picture of the situation.
  • Explain that it is wrong for them to make someone else touch them or to touch others in their private places until they are older — even if it may seem like a game.
  • Don't let your child/youth be with other children unsupervised until you can be sure other children will not be touched inappropriately.
  • Talk with your child's health care practitioner or to a counselor who may be familiar with these behaviors in children, so you can find out if more help is needed.

Who Can Help? - Resources and Guidance for Victims of Sexual Violence

Medical - If your child has been abused or assaulted, s/he needs to be seen by a medical professional. Many Iowa communities have specially trained nurses, called Sexual Assault Nurse Examiners, who can examine someone after an assault and know how to properly collect evidence required for the legal system. You can also seek care at an emergency room or family doctor. The cost of a sexual assault examination is not charged to the victim — it is paid for by the State of Iowa. All health care providers are required by law to report child sexual abuse and they know how to support your family in getting help for a victim.

Legal - Local law enforcement will assist by filing a police report, investigating the crime, and apprehending a suspect. To notify law enforcement, dial 911.

Crisis Counseling and Advocacy - Free crisis services and medical/ legal advocacy are available to victims of crime in Iowa. To find a program near you, call the Iowa Sexual Abuse Hotline (1-800-284-7821), a 24-hour crisis line that provides information, support, and referral to appropriate agencies and programs across the state.

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