Bullying Conferences Create Buzz and New Research Direction
Youth-Nex co-hosted two conferences on bullying last week, attracting a wide audience, media coverage and two dozen bullying experts from across North America.
A public state event held at Charlottesville HIgh School on June 20 saw over 500 school officials who came to hear presentations including legal responsibilities for school personnel and the latest research on school bullying.
Youth-Nex also co-hosted a private think tank for scholars to discuss bullying prevention through a positive youth development lens, and to advance the best scientific work in the field.
“Bullying is a complex social and emotional problem affecting students from kindergarten through high school,” said Garth L. Wheeler, before the event. Wheeler is director of the Virginia Department of Criminal Justice Services, one of the state conference sponsors. “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.”
In addition to Youth-Nex, conference sponsors were 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.
The think tank was sponsored by Youth-Nex and the Bullying Research Network, an organization of scholars from around the world who study bullying.
Youth-Nex’s Professor Dewey Cornell called the meeting a success. “We were able to achieve reasonable consensus on a series of issues, including research priorities, policy recommendations, best practices for educators, and advice for parents. The differences among us are essentially the priorities for future research, since they center around key problems such as measurement and conceptualization of bullying in its various forms, as well as strategies for effective intervention,” he said.
The group also began discussion on the extension of bullying research and theory to the full lifespan, from aggressive behavior observed in preschoolers to abuse of the elderly, according to Cornell. The meeting was also an opportunity for bullying scholars from North America to share their research and ideas with one another while strengthening their collective efforts.