York experts at forefront of bullying prevention

The work of York bullying expert Debra Pepler and York alumna Wendy Craig (MA ’89, PhD ’93), now a professor at Queen’s University, is at the forefront of Bullying Awareness Week (BAW), which runs this week, Nov. 17 to 21.

Pepler and Craig are the scientific co-directors of PREVNet, a collaborative and interdisciplinary program that shares up-to-date scientific knowledge and research expertise, builds awareness of bullying and aggression problems, plots strategies, informs public policy-making and shifts attitudes related to bullying.

The network brings together 55 university researchers from 26 Canadian universities and 45 national non-governmental organizations.

Bullying Awareness Week events include:

Toronto Coalition Bullying Awareness Event at City Hall

Toronto Mayor David Miller kicks off Bullying Awareness Week today with a ceremony at City Hall at 8:30am. Pepler will read the Kandersteg Declaration, an international declaration signed by the world’s leading researchers who study bullying. Pepler and Craig took a leadership role in the development of the proclamation. City Hall event participants will have the opportunity to sign the declaration. 

Family Channel stand UP! (to Bullying) campaign

PREVNet is the lead partner in "stand UP!", Family Channel’s nationwide bullying prevention campaign during BAW. The partnership involves the following initiatives: 

  • Family Channel broadcast of the stand UP! music video, performed by the stars of the popular series, "The Latest Buzz". An episode of the show, that focuses on bullying and was vetted by PREVNet, will be aired later in the season.  
  • The stand UP! Web site, linked to the Family Channel main Web site, offers four PREVNet resources for download, including a tip sheet for kids about bullying between friends, a student tip sheet, a parent tip sheet and a teacher lesson plan to accompany the Stand UP! public service announcement produced in 2007.  
  • Kids can buy a stand UP! cuff (bracelet) to show their support for the campaign. Proceeds from the cuff will be shared with PREVNet.

Computer simulation game for middle school students

PREVNet is piloting a computer simulation game about bullying in Toronto Schools, in conjunction with the Rendezvous with Madness Film Festival and sponsored by the Centre for Addiction & Mental Health and by Workman Arts. PREVNet partner, Michael Gibson of Zapdramatic, created a computer simulation game, Sir Basil Pike Public School, which will be used as an immersive group learning experience in Grade 7 and 8 classrooms. The game enables young people to experience the social consequences of their actions in a simulated social environment and will raise students’ awareness of their social responsibility when they encounter bullying in the peer group. Pepler was one of the consultants in the game development process.

For more information, visit the Bullying Awareness Week Web site.