Bullies beware as Millersville University plans its second conference against school violence. Following a successful conference held last summer, The Verizon Foundation has given the University another grant of $10,000 in order to fund a second conference. As a business revolving around technology, Verizon emphasizes the importance of Internet safety for children and teenagers.
Having focused on eliminating bullying in schools at the past conference, this year’s focus will be on bullying occurring in cyberspace. Jane Bray, dean of the school of education at Millersville, expressed her pleasure in being given a second opportunity to educate the community about bullying. She claimed that this year’s angle on cyber bullying will compliment last year’s conference nicely.
Attendance at the previous conference consisted of 22 school districts from the Lancaster-Lebanon area along with Millersville students, faculty and staff.
The featured speaker at the first conference was Hilda Clarice Quiroz, a training specialist with the National School Safety center in California. Another speaker was Colonel Jeffrey Miller who, at the time, was the head of the Pennsylvania State Police.
He offered insight following his leading command when the Nichol Mines shooting took place. The conference held a free day of bullying workshop sessions that encouraged parents in the community to participate and learn how to identify when bullying is occurring and how to stop it.
There is increasing concern that as technology evolves, youth are given more opportunities to act in ways they believe are untraceable to guardians who may seem incapable of keeping up. The conference will suggest ways for these care-givers to regulate children’s actions online without monitoring their every move. Some tips include keeping the computer in a public household area, knowing who children are talking to, and saving all online information.
Bray stated, “We often think of school violence linked with major school disturbances. However, bullying has been identified as one of the major contributing factors toward larger school violence, thus the increased focus on this area is intended to be preventive measures.”
She included that, “students majoring in education, social work, psychology and other programs at the graduate level will be invited to attend this conference.” The second conference will be held in fall 2009.