Postponed: "Addressing Bullying and School Violence and Promoting School Connectedness: Empirically-Based and Innovative Prevention and Intervention"

Dorothy Espelage, Ph.D.., Professor of Psychology, University of Florida

In the wake of school violence across the U.S., visible security measures -- such as active shooter drills, metal detectors, clear back packs, and school security officers – have been put into place in many schools. The cost of these measures is the hardening of our schools. Thus, we are faced with an important question: how do we soften the impact of this hardening of schools? We do this by training our teachers and adults in schools to understand trauma-informed approaches, social-emotional learning, restorative practices, and culturally competent practices. 

Dr. Espelage will discuss two decades of research on bullying and other forms of youth violence, highlighting the efficacy of school-based programs. Innovative efforts to address bullying, sexual violence, and school violence include developing apps for students to communicate emotional and physical safety concerns, youth-led student campaigns to address mental health issues and school climate concerns, and professional development training programs for school police officers.

About the speaker:

Dorothy L. Espelage, Ph.D., is Professor of Psychology at the University of Florida.  She is the recipient of the APA Lifetime Achievement Award in Prevention Science and the 2016 APA Award for Distinguished Contributions to Research in Public Policy, and is a Fellow of APS, APA, and AERA.  She was recently elected to the National Academy of Education. She earned her Ph.D. in Counseling Psychology from Indiana University in 1997.  Over the last 22 years, she has authored over 190 peer- reviewed articles, six edited books, and 70 chapters on bullying, homophobic teasing, sexual harassment, dating violence, and gang violence.

Her research focuses on translating empirical findings into prevention and intervention programming and she has secured over twelve million dollars of external funding. She advises members of Congress and Senate on bully prevention legislation. She conducts regular webinars for CDC, NIH, and NIJ to disseminate research. She just completed a CDC-funded study that included a randomized clinical trial of a social emotional learning prevention program in 36 middle schools to reduce aggression. National Institute of Justice (NIJ) is funding her to track these kids to examine whether these effects remain as kids navigate challenges of high school. CDC is funding another RCT of this program in comparison to a gender-enhanced social-emotional program in 28 Illinois middle schools. 

She just received a 5-year large grant to prevent bullying and promote school safety in high schools from NIJ. Also, she is PI on a CDC-funded grant to evaluate a youth suicide prevention program on sexual violence outcomes in 24 Colorado high schools. She authored a 2011 White House Brief on bullying among LGBTQ youth and attended the White House Conference in 2011, and has been a consultant on the website and consultant to the National Anti-bullying Campaign, Health Resources and Services Administration  (HRSA) in the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). She has presented multiple times at the Federal Partnership to End Bullying Summit and Conference. She is a consultant to the National Institutes of Health Pathways to Prevention Initiative to address bullying and youth suicide.

Dr. Espelage has appeared on many television news and talk shows, including The Today Show; CNN; CBS Evening News; The Oprah Winfrey Show, Anderson, Anderson 360 and has been quoted in the national print press, including Time Magazine, USA Today, People, Boston Globe, and the Wall Street Journal.