Actively Caring for People: Preventing Bullying by Improving Individuals, Classrooms, Schools

Presented by: Shane McCarty, Sophia Teie and Andrea Langston, Virginia Tech
Presented at: 5th International Conference on Conflict Resolution Education
Date of Session: March 15, 2012

Session Description: In the aftermath of the April 16, 2007 tragedy, Virginia Tech students and a Psychology Professor E. Scott Geller initiated a movement, Actively Caring for People (AC4P), designed to build community and reduce bullying. In the wake of the VT tragedy, one question lingered: "How did this happen?" While many factors were involved, it has been well-documented the shooter was bullied and individuals lacked the courage to actively care. In fall 2009, the first AC4P program to promote peace and reduce bullying was piloted at an elementary school in Northern Virginia. Since then, the AC4P movement has spread to educational settings across the nation, from K-12 to universities. This workshop provides participants with information about bullying, the framework for an AC4P culture shift, the success of the elementary and middle school programs (e.g., 50% reduction in bullying behavior after seven weeks), the perspectives on AC4P from various stakeholders (i.e., administrators, teachers, parents, students, and community members), and the implications for paradigm-shifting principles and practical strategies to improve individuals, classrooms, schools, and communities.