YN Gathers Experts to Tackle Bullying at Two Conferences This June

By Dewey Cornell, Clinical Psychologist, Professor of Education, and Youth-Nex Associate Director, Curry School of Education, University of Virginia.

High School Students walk toward a bus

Related posts will be found under Bullying.

In the past decade, bullying has become recognized as a pervasive problem in schools. Our research at the University of Virginia has highlighted the importance of creating a positive school climate that is conducive to healthy peer interactions and supportive teacher-student relationships. A positive youth development perspective offers new strategies and perspectives on the prevention of bullying and the facilitation of emotional and academic development.

The conferences are designed to bring together some of the nation’s leading experts to give us an understanding of effective principles and practices and to advance the best scientific work in the field. New findings from these experts will be presented at the conference.

• Susan Swearer, Ph.D., from the University of Nebraska will present new findings showing a reduction in bullying using a program that looks at the underlying psychological factors causing students to bully.

• Dorothy Espelage, Ph.D., of the University of Illinois will share new findings on bullying, fighting, and sexual harassment in middle school.

• Susan Limber, Ph.D., of Clemson University will describe recent findings in more than 130 elementary, middle, and high schools on a program to prevent bullying through school-wide, classroom, and individual interventions.

The Virginia Departments of Education, Health, Criminal Justice Services will join Youth-Nex, the Safe Schools/Healthy Students project of Albemarle/Charlottesville and VDOE Region 5 T/TAC @ James Madison University in hosting the event.

“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 the legislative mandate [implementing effective training for public school personnel on evidence-based anti-bullying tactics] and help schools create caring school communities where students are challenged academically and supported by adults.”

About 500 from all over the state have registered for the public event including school superintendents, principals, school counselors, school resource officers, police officers, teachers, nurses, psychologists, and social workers.


June 20, 2012, Charlottesville High School

Details and Registration

This conference is designed for school superintendents, principals, and other administrators; school support professionals, including school counselors, nurses, prevention and student assistance specialists, psychologists, and social workers; school resource officers; and teachers.

Morning session: New Thinking and Research on Bullying

9:00 a.m. – 9:45 a.m.
Understanding and Preventing Bullying: A School-wide Perspective

Catherine Bradshaw, Ph.D., Johns Hopkins University
Recent research demonstrates the impact of school-wide prevention programs like Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports and the role of protective factors in preventing bullying. Bullying prevention efforts must consider the role of school climate and the different perspectives of students, staff, and parents. Includes Q&A.

9:45 a.m. – 10:30 a.m.
Social-emotional Learning and Character Education Approaches to Bullying
Prevention & Intervention

Dorothy Espelage, Ph.D., University of Illinois
Second Step is a social-emotional learning and character education program designed to reduce bullying, fighting, and sexual harassment. Professor Espelage will present new findings from an ongoing randomized clinical trial in 36 middle schools. Includes Q&A.

10:30 a.m. – 10:45 a.m. – Break

10:45 a.m. – 11:30 a.m.
A School-wide Approach to Bullying Prevention through Positive School Climate
June Jenkins, M.Ed., Albemarle/Charlottesville Safe Schools/Healthy Students Project
Practical strategies for implementing schoolwide bullying prevention can have a positive impact on school climate. The Safe Schools/Healthy Students project in the Albemarle/Charlottesville school systems has achieved a 22% reduction in student reported bullying. Includes Q&A.

11:30 a.m – 12:15 p.m.
Implementation of the Olweus Bullying Prevention Program: Outcomes and Experiences from a Large-Scale Project
Susan Limber, Ph.D., Clemson University
The OBPP is a school-based program to prevent bullying through school-wide, classroom, and individual interventions. Dr. Limber will describe recent findings and experiences from the implementation of the program in more than 130 elementary, middle, and high schools. Includes Q&A.

Afternoon session: From Research to Practice

1:30 p.m. – 2:15 p.m.
Legal Issues with Bullying and Harassment in Schools

Craig Wood, J.D., McGuireWoods and Washington and Lee University School of Law
Teachers and school administrators can be held liable under a number of state and federal legal theories if they fail to take action to prevent and remedy threatening and abusive behavior against students. This talk will explain those theories, and suggest proactive interventions school officials should take to protect students and avoid liability. Includes Q&A.

2:15 p.m. – 3:00 p.m.
The Target Bullying Intervention Program
Susan Swearer, Ph.D., University of Nebraska
How do we work with a student who is bullying others? The Target Bullying Intervention Program (T-BIP) is an individualized cognitive-behavioral intervention designed to take the place of in-school suspension for bullying behaviors. Includes Q&A.

3:00 p.m. – 3:15 p.m. – Break

3:15 p.m. – 4:00 p.m.
The Assessment of School Climate and the Identification of Victims of Bullying

Dewey Cornell, Ph.D., University of Virginia
Research in Virginia schools shows that student perceptions of school climate can be measured reliably and are predictive of school dropout rates and SOL performance. However, self-reports are not as useful as peer reports in identifying victims of bullying. Includes Q&A.

4:00 p.m. – 4:30 p.m.
Question and Answer Panel Discussion

4:30 p.m.


Catherine Bradshaw, Ph.D., Associate Professor, Department of Mental Health, Deputy Director, The Johns Hopkins Center for the Prevention of Youth Violence

Dorothy Espelage, Ph.D., Professor of Child Development, College of Education, University of Illinois

Susan Swearer, Ph.D., Professor of School Psychology at the University of Nebraska and Co-Director of the Bullying Research Network.

June Jenkins, M.Ed., Project Director, Albemarle/Charlottesville Safe Schools/Healthy Students Project

Susan Limber, Ph.D., Dan Olweus Distinguished Professor in the Institute on Family and Neighborhood Life (IFNL), Clemson University

Craig Wood, J.D., Partner with McGuireWoods, former Chairman of the Council of School Attorneys of the Virginia School Boards Association, past President of the Education Law Association, and National School Boards Association Council of School Attorneys Board of Directors member

Dewey Cornell, Ph.D., Clinical Psychologist, Professor of Education, and Youth-Nex Associate Director, Curry School of Education, University of Virginia

Youth-Nex is also co-hosting a private Think Tank for researchers:
Think Tank Flyer


This invitation-only conference will be held at the University of Virginia on June 21 & 22, 2012. The think tank will bring together scholars from across the world looking at positive youth development as a focus for bullying prevention, while helping to advance the best scientific work in the field.

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