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2014 Federal Bullying Prevention Summit Addresses Importance of Collaboration

“Outstanding” and “irreplaceable” were just two adjectives used to describe the fourth Federal Bullying Prevention Summit – “Keeping Kids Safe: Opportunities and Challenges in Bullying Prevention.”  The Summit was the culmination of many months of hard work by the Summit Planning Committee, a sub-committee of the larger Federal Partners in Bullying Prevention. The jam-packed day saw 22 speakers present on a variety of topics ranging from the state of current bullying prevention research, multi-tiered behavioral frameworks, cyberbullying, and school discipline.

Breakout session topics included a look at federal and state laws, policies, and guidance, a Stopbullying.gov demonstration, a media guidelines discussion, and an examination of related high-risk behaviors including hazing and teen dating violence. For example, the federal and state laws, policies, and guidance session generated a lot of debate and raised challenging questions, specifically regarding the public health consequences of bullying.

Among these 22 speakers, were four youth participants from different parts of the US who came to the Summit to share their perspectives on bullying prevention, their experiences with bullying, and the work they do in their communities. Oakley, Cameron, Annae, and Madison provided an indispensable component to the day – they were able to connect the dots between research, practice, and what youth experience in school.

Additionally, the youth facilitated four focus groups in the afternoon, providing invaluable feedback to the Federal Partners as they look to the next year of activities. Participants discussed challenges faced by schools and communities in bullying prevention, as well as successes in promoting positive school climate. One group highlighted the need to include parents and the medical community in the discussion.

With an in-person audience of around 200 and a virtual audience of nearly 400 at its peak, the oft-repeated theme of looking at bullying through the lens school climate was driven home. Additionally, audience members were challenged to bring the knowledge shared back to their organizations, states, schools, and communities to facilitate change. 

In addition to the day’s great content, two Federal resources were officially launched. The first was the Bullying, Harassment, & Civil Rights: An Overview of School Districts’ Federal Obligation to Respond to Harassment video, developed collaboratively by the U.S. Departments of Education and Justice, and the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) of the Department of Health and Human Services.

The second was the KnowBullying App, a new mobile app from SAMHSA that can help get the conversation started between parents/caregivers and children about bullying. For more information please visit http://store.samhsa.gov/apps/bullying/. The KnowBullying App is available for download from both Google and Apple.

Did you participate in the Summit either in-person or virtually? If so, we’d love to hear from you! What was the key lesson you took away from the day and have brought back to share with your colleagues? What would have made the day more helpful to you? Please share your thoughts with us via Facebook and Twitter using #BullyingSummit14.