The University at Buffalo's Alberti Center for Bullying Abuse Prevention will present its annual conference and two film screenings this week to raise awareness for the nationwide problem of bullying abuse and to coincide with National Bullying Prevention Month.
The conference, being held from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. Oct. 10 at the Millennium Hotel Buffalo in Cheektowaga, is expected to attract close to 200 educators, mental health professionals and law enforcement agents committed to reducing bullying in schools and community.
Giving the keynote address at the conference is Dewey Cornell, professor of education at the University of Virginia, who will speak on "Student Threat Assessment and the Prevention of School Violence."
Cornell will talk about the widespread misconception that violence in schools cannot be prevented because it seems unpredictable. Cornell will focus on true prevention methods that can prevent the outbreak of these incidents, rather than crisis response strategies, such as arming teachers.
"Although we have made great strides in raising awareness of the issue of bullying abuse and its consequences, there is more work to do," says Amanda B. Nickerson, Ph.D., director of the Alberti Center. "The tragedy in Sandy Hook last December reminds us all of the importance of ensuring the safety of our nation's youth.
"We are honored to have Dr. Dewey Cornell, an expert in violence prevention who has developed a model of threat assessment that has been designated an evidence-based approach, provide the morning session at our conference."
The afternoon breakout sessions will focus on topics relevant to New York state's Dignity for All Students Act, such as legal issues, creating a positive school culture and issues for individuals who may be vulnerable because of their sexual orientation, disability, weight, or race or ethnicity.
Other sessions at the conference include "Avoiding Courtroom and Headlines: Strategies to Protect Your District from Legal Challenges"; "Bullying and Students With Disabilities"; "Weight-based Victimization: Are you Fueling the Fire?"; "Bullying and LGBTQ Youth"; and "Creating an Anti-Bullying Climate and Culture."
For more information about the conference, go to www.gse.buffalo.edu/alberticenterconference. The conference is made possible by gold sponsors embraceWNY and the Western New York Foundation; and silver sponsors Buffalo Teachers Federation, Community Action Organization of Erie County, Harris Beach PLLC, New York Association of School Psychologists and Pearson.
The Alberti Center, along with UB co-sponsors the Center for Literacy and Reading Instruction, Gender Institute and Wellness Education Services, will host the Buffalo premier of the film "Matt Shepard is a Friend of Mine." The screening will take place at 7 p.m. Oct. 11 in the Screening Room of the Center for the Arts, North Campus. The feature-length film explores the life and death of Matthew Shepard, the gay University at Wyoming student murdered in Laramie, Wyo., 15 years ago by two men who kidnapped him from a bar and drove him to a field where he was tortured and left to die.
The Alberti Center also will host the screening of "Submit the Documentary" at 7:30 p.m. Oct. 30 in the Student Union Theater, North Campus. "Submit" explores the problem and impact of cyberbullying on kids, teens and families.
Both film screenings are free and open to the public. More information is available at http://gse.buffalo.edu/alberticenter/events/other.