Eastern Illinois University is taking a lead in the fight against bullying.
“It’s become an issue more and more for schools to address,” said Melanie Mills, assistant chair of the “Beyond Awareness: Strategies to Eliminate Bullying” conference, set to take place on the Charleston campus on Friday, Oct. 5. Hours are from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
"Our event is, by design, geared primarily toward supporting K through 12 educators from throughout the state and education students,” Mills added. “We want to address bullying and work toward its elimination by connecting people in our communities on the topic.”
The conference is a product of EIU’s Bridging Voices in Our Community project, which serves as a catalyst to help educate and equip learning communities in the area of bullying prevention. Mills, along with BVC Chair Mildred Pearson, received a 2012 Faculty Development Partnership Grant and also Redden Grants to help support the event. These grants, coupled with additional support from other sponsors, are enabling the university to offer the conference free of charge to participants.
Organizers expect 350 teachers, community members and interested students to attend the conference, and that even more teachers will participate via Skype.
The event has nationally recognized experts, along with several local speakers, scheduled to talk as part of the program. Jennifer Roscoe, WCIA-TV’s “Beyond Bullying” spokesperson, will kick off the event, and will introduce the conference’s keynote speaker Dorothy Espelage, professor of educational psychology, University of Illinois.
Other speakers will include Justin Patchin, associate professor and co-director of the Cyberbullying Research Center at the University of Wisconsin Eau Clair, and a host of participants from EIU and the surrounding area.
The conference will conclude with a panel discussion, featuring Eastern students speaking out about their own bullying experiences, including tales of “being the bully to the pain of being the victim of bullying.”
A complete list of speakers, short bios and subject topics, as well as an online registration form -- can be found at the conference’s website.
“This conference will serve as a time for learning communities to unite and promote bullying intervention,” Mills said. “We are asking administrators, teachers, coaches and other school personnel to join us from around the four corners of the state in becoming a ‘human bridge’ as we come together and serve as voices against bullying.”
Phone 217-581-5728 or email info@BVCBullyingProject.org for information.