Making schools and their surrounding communities safer will be the focal point of an important conference titled, “Building Resistance and Resiliency to Violence, Defiant Groups and Bullying Symposium” set for Oct. 4-5 at the Lake Terrace Convention Center in Hattiesburg, Miss.
Sponsored by the Office of Professional Development and Educational Outreach at The University of Southern Mississippi, the symposium will benefit teachers, school administrators, parents, social workers, school psychologists, school counselors, juvenile court personnel, law enforcement officers and individuals who work with youth.
“Bullying behavior is on the rise in our society. Bullying statistics and cyber bullying statistics are increasingly viewed as an important contributor to youth violence, including homicide and suicide,” said Frederick Varnado, director, Office of Professional Development and Educational Outreach. “Since October is National Bullying Prevention Awareness Month, we wanted to do something in support of bullying awareness and prevention. The symposium will give attendees an opportunity to network and share information and strategies that will help prevent bullying in our schools and communities.”
The symposium will feature several keynote addresses by experts in the field of youth violence. Kelsey Ann Jackson, a bullying survivor and University of Mississippi freshman will discuss the effects of girl bullying on the symposium’s opening day.
Other important topics include: “Suicide and Bullying in Childhood,” “Types and Legal Aspects of Bullying” and “Coping Power Program.”
“One of the best ways to deal with bullying and aggression in schools is to prevent such behaviors in the first place and the Coping Power Program aims to do just that,” said Dr. Tammy Barry, director of clinical training in the Department of Psychology at Southern Miss, who will deliver one of the keynote addresses. “The program uses a comprehensive approach that targets children identified as most at-risk for aggression just before and during the pivotal period of transitioning to middle school – when we often see an escalation of problem behaviors.”
Seating is limited. The cost to attend is $150 if paid before Sept. 23. After that date, the cost is $175. To register in person visit The International Center on the Southern Miss Hattiesburg campus, Room 505 from 8 a.m-5 p.m. Monday-Friday. Or call 601.266.4186. Agenda and registration forms can be downloaded at http://www.usm.edu/profdev_edoutreach/SafeSchoolsRegistrationFlyer.pdf