Society & Culture

Youth violence expert to speak at UGA’s Safe and Welcoming Schools Conference

Dewey Cornell COE conference-sq
Dewey Cornell

Athens, Ga. – Dewey G. Cornell, a national expert in the prevention of youth violence and bullying, will be the keynote speaker at the third annual Safe and Welcoming Schools Conference hosted by the University of Georgia College of Education on Feb. 28.

The one-day conference is designed to help education administrators, counselors and teachers prevent and respond to childhood bullying. The theme of the conference is “Reducing Risk Through Safe and Welcoming Schools.” UGA researchers and practitioners from education, counseling, law and public health will address:

• How safe are students?
• What steps can schools take to improve school climate, prevent bullying and reduce risk?
• How are bullying and suicide related and what can be done to prevent them?
• What are the connections between school safety, school climate and academic achievement?
• What should educators know about crisis management?
• What are the legal considerations for creating safe schools?
• What policies can help protect all students?

Cornell, a forensic clinical psychologist and Bunker Professor of Education at the University of Virginia, studies and teaches about the prevention of youth violence and bullying, as well as healthy student development and achievement through a supportive and structured school climate. He has worked with juvenile and adult violent offenders, testified in criminal proceedings and legislative hearings, and consulted on violence prevention efforts. Cornell is currently conducting a federally-funded study of school climate and bullying in more than 700 Virginia secondary schools.

In addition, Garry McGiboney, associate superintendent of the Georgia Department of Education, will speak on crisis management in schools; and Selena Blankenship, principal of Hilsman Middle School in Clarke County, will share insights on improving school climate.

Speakers from UGA include:
• John Dayton, professor, lifelong education, administration and policy, College of Education
• Andy Horne, dean emeritus, College of Education
• Pamela Orpinas, professor, health promotion and behavior, College of Public Health
• Kat Raczynski, director, Safe and Welcoming Schools Project, College of Education
• Anneliese Singh, associate professor, counseling and human development, College of Education

The conference will be from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the Hilton Garden Inn in Athens. Registration cost is $149 and includes conference materials, lunch and two refreshment breaks. Registration deadline is Feb. 14. For more details and to register, see