Cooley to co-host summit to stop bullying

Thomas M. Cooley Law School and Oakland University will host “Working Together to Stop School Violence: A Statewide Summit on Bullying” on Friday, June 7 at Cooley’s Auburn Hills campus. The seminar will focus on what can be done and must be done to stop bullying and harassment in schools under “Matt’s Safe School Law,” which was signed into law by Michigan Governor Rick Snyder in Dec. 2011.“Matt’s Safe School Law” is named after Matt Epling, a freshman from East Lansing, Mich., who killed himself in 2002 after being bullied by upperclassman.

The summit runs from 9 a.m. until 3 p.m. and will feature discussions with Kevin Epling, Matt’s father, along with authors of The Weekly Bully Beat Down. Presenters include Hon. M.T. Thompson, Jr., district court judge, Saginaw County; Monica Nuckolls, professor, Cooley Law School; and Dr. Gwendolyn Thompson McMillon, professor, Oakland University.

“In order for Matt’s Safe School Law to be effective, our educators need to be informed about their responsibilities,” said Nuckolls, one of the summit’s organizers. “Bullying in the classroom, off-campus and cyber bullying all have consequences, not only for those being bullied, but for those bullying and for teachers and administrators who ignore the signs of bullying.”

Besides looking at “Matt’s Safe School Law,” the seminar will cover federal laws prohibiting student-on-student harassment and bullying, including schools’ legal responsibilities under Title IX. It will also address what students and parents can do to stop bullying, how to tell if a child is being bullied, the profile of a bully and the warning signs for teen shooters and suicide.

“Educators are usually a student’s first line for defense,” said Thompson McMillon. “This summit will help teachers, social workers, school administrators, or anyone to notice the signs of bullying and to notice signs of violence and harassment in our schools.”

Those interested in attending the summit should pre-register by contacting Professor Nuckolls by phone or email at 248-751-7800 extension 7752 or nuckollm@cooley.edu. Online registration is also available at http://www.cooley.edu/events/stop_bullying_summit.html.

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