Patti Agatston – President
How long have you been involved with IBPA?
I have been involved with IBPA since attending and presenting at the first conference that was held in 2003 in Atlanta, Georgia. I joined as a member and attended every conference IBPA has held and became a board member in 2010.
What drew you to the field of bullying prevention?
I was drawn to the field of bullying prevention as a natural extension of my work in the areas of violence prevention and child abuse prevention, since they are all human rights issues. I have trained and consulted with schools for twenty-five years in the area of drug, violence, and suicide prevention and I was a founding board member and President for a local children’s advocacy center that serves abused children and their non-offending caregivers. Many educators became more aware of the dangers of bullying after the high profile school shootings of the 1990’s and schools were asking for help. Thus I became a national trainer in the area of bullying prevention in 2003 and also became interested in the emerging area of cyberbullying and conducted some of the early research in the field with my colleagues Susan Limber and Robin Kowalski.
What is your goal for IBPA in the future?
My goal for IBPA in the future is for us to continue to grow our presence as a convener and connector for all individuals and organizations doing important work in this space, and to truly become more international in our efforts. We are off to a good start with our collaboration this year with Friends, International to host the WorldAnti-Bullying Forum this May in Sweden, and I am very proud that we held our first Think Tank for partner organizations at the 2016 conference that led to our Statement of Beliefs.
What are you most looking forward to at the national conference in Nashville?
I am incredibly excited that IBPA is hosting its first ever research forum in association with this year’s conference in Nashville. Leading researchers from around the world in the field of bullying prevention will have the opportunity to share their current projects and discuss possible collaborations for the future. We will also be hosting our first ever poster session for university students doing research in the field of bullying prevention.
Who is your role model and why?
I have many role models so that is a difficult question to answer. But my father is also a psychologist and advocate for human rights so my interest in this work was greatly influenced by him and his belief in the fundamental belonging principle, (from Adlerian psychology) that all humans have a goal to belong, and thus our problems are social problems, i.e. relational and interactional. It’s so important that our schools and communities are places where everyone has a chance to contribute and belong.
If you were stranded on an island, what 3 things would you bring with you?
I would bring – my husband (if allowed), my yoga mat, and a giant box of matches. I’ve never been good at making fire from sticks!