Conference to Focus on Latest Findings in Bullying Prevention

June 6, 2012 — Nearly 500 school officials from across Virginia seeking the latest information in bullying prevention will gather June 20 at Charlottesville High School for a conference on "Bullying Prevention in the Promotion of a Positive School Climate: Effective Principles and Practices."

"This conference differs from most in that it brings together national scholars on bullying who will be presenting new research findings on effective methods to reduce bullying," said Dewey Cornell, a professor and clinical psychologist at the University of Virginia's Curry School of Education and associate director for Youth-Nex, the U.Va. Center to Promote Effective Youth Development, one of the event sponsors.

"It will also cover legal and practical issues for schools in responding to bullying," said Cornell, who is also director of the Virginia Youth Violence Project.

"Bullying is a complex social and emotional problem affecting students from kindergarten through high school," said Garth L. Wheeler, director of the Virginia Department of Criminal Justice Services. "We're pleased to be participating in this conference as part of our efforts to respond to our legislative mandate and help schools create caring school communities where students are challenged academically and supported by adults."

Among the registrants are school superintendents, principals, school counselors, school resource officers, teachers, nurses, psychologists and social workers.

Among the scholars who will be presenting their findings at the conference are:

• Susan Swearer of the University of Nebraska, who will present findings showing a reduction in bullying using a program that looks at the underlying psychological factors causing students to bully.
• Dorothy Espelage of the University of Illinois, who will share new findings on a program to reduce bullying, fighting and sexual harassment in middle school.
• Susan Limber of Clemson University, who will describe recent findings in more than 130 elementary, middle and high schools on the Olweus Bullying Prevention Program, which is widely used throughout the United States and Virginia to prevent bullying through schoolwide classroom and individual interventions.

The conference will begin at 8:45 a.m. with remarks from Cornell and Patrick Tolan, director of Youth-Nex.

In addition to Youth-Nex, conference sponsors are the Virginia departments of Education, Health and Criminal Justice Services; the Safe Schools/Healthy Students project of Albemarle/Charlottesville; and the Virginia Department of Education Region 5 Training and Technical Assistance Center at James Madison University.

Details on the seven conference sessions can be found here.

Following the public conference is a private, two-day research meeting hosted by Youth-Nex. "The Second Annual Bullying Research Network Think Tank: New Directions for Positive Youth Development" will bring together scholars to discuss bullying prevention through a positive youth development lens, and to advance the best scientific work in the field.

The think tank is sponsored by Youth-Nex and the Bullying Research Network, an organization of scholars from around the world who study bullying. The event will be held at U.Va. on June 21 and 22.