University of Rochester

School Bullying Prevention is Focus of Annual Summer Institute in Rochester

May 19, 2011

In the wake of the many tragic outcomes of bullying this past year and the new anti-bullying legislation this has sparked, the University of Rochester's Warner School of Education and St. John Fisher College will co-sponsor a Summer Institute focused on presenting solutions to the problem of bullying.

The 2011 Summer Institute on Catholic Education will bring together nationally-acclaimed educators and experts on bullying prevention, parents, teachers, school administrators, catechists, and high school and college students from across the state to discuss working together to make schools and communities safe for all students. The overall theme for the Institute, which takes place July 7 and 8, is "Pathways to Preventing Bullying."

Keynote presentations and breakout sessions will cover an array of topics, ranging from cyberbullying and bullying prevention to anti-bullying legislation, safety issues, and what parents can do to help.

The first of the two keynote speakers, Marc Brackett, PhD, will open the Institute on Thursday, July 7 with his keynote address, "Bullying Prevention Versus Intervention: A Skill-Based, Sustainable Approach to Building Emotionally Literate Schools." Brackett is a research scientist at Yale University who looks at why bullying takes place and ways to prevent it.

Brother Raymond Vercruysse, EdD, will present the second keynote address, "Mission, Culture, and Leadership: Challenges for a Church Unknown," on Friday, July 8. Vercruysse, who was formerly the director of the Catholic Education Program at the University of San Francisco and principal and president of Bishop Kearney High School in Rochester, will discuss the future pathways to mission and leadership in the culture of Catholic schools within the context of an emerging church.

The issues of bullying have garnered more attention recently because texting, Facebook, Twitter, and other technologies are being used to carry it out—known as cyberbullying—and because of media coverage of teens who have committed suicide after such taunting acts. Evelyn Kirst, who directs the Annual Summer Institute, emphasizes the severity of bullying and the critical consequences that come with it.

"Millions of students are bullied every year, putting them at greater risk of falling behind academically, abusing drugs or alcohol, or suffering mental or other health problems," explains Kirst, "and kids who are seen as different because of their race, clothes, disability, or sexual orientation are more likely to be bullied. Our goal with the Summer Institute is to face the challenges of bullying in and out of the classroom and share ways we can make all children feel safe in a learning environment. Effective bullying prevention requires that schools, parents, and communities work together to utilize research-based strategies to enhance existing bullying prevention efforts."

Since its inception, the Summer Institute has attracted nearly 4,000 participants, including teachers, school administrators, youth ministers, church members, parents, and others who have been interested in Catholic education.

The 2011 Summer Institute will be held from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Thursday, July 7 and from 8:45 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. on Friday, July 8. All sessions will be held at St. John Fisher College.

The Summer Institute is open to the public. Registration is $225 per person ($250 after June 1) and includes materials, refreshments, and luncheons for both days. The deadline to register is June 15. Group rates and housing are available. To register or for more information about the Summer Institute, visit, call (585) 273-2280, or send an e-mail to

About the Warner School of Education
Founded in 1958, the University of Rochester's Warner School of Education offers master's and doctoral degree programs in teaching and curriculum, school leadership, higher education, counseling, human development, and educational policy. The Warner School of Education offers a new accelerated option for its EdD programs that allows eligible students to earn a doctorate in education in as few as three years part time while holding a professional job in the same field. The Warner School of Education is recognized both regionally and nationally for its tradition of preparing practitioners and researchers to become leaders and agents of change in schools, universities, and community agencies; generating and disseminating research; and actively participating in education reform.