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What are new ways to prevent bullying in schools? Summit attendees seek to find out

The Colorado Dept. of Public Safety's two-day summit in Thornton brings together teachers, mental health experts, law enforcement & administrators.

THORNTON, Colo. — Just over a year ago, a 15-year-old Lakewood teenager named Robbie Eckert ended his life after a long struggle with mental health.

In 2017, Tom and Dru Ahlborg sued a Denver school after they said their son was subjected to systematic bullying that the school did nothing to prevent, allegations the school denied.

In May, Parker teen Campden Piper said he used his own experiences being bullied to inspire the words of his song, "Words Do Not Hurt Me Anymore," a song he uses to inspire other victims.

Those are just a few recent examples of the impact bullying has had on Coloradans.

The 2019 Colorado Safe Schools Summit, going on Thursday and Friday at the Adams 12 Five Star Schools' Thornton conference center, seeks to find innovative prevention and intervention efforts to address bullying and school violence.

The sold-out event gathers school administrators, teachers, mental health workers and law enforcement to explore topics that include:

  • Preventing targeted violence & extremism in schools
  • Violence prevention protocol
  • Building partnerships to prevent violence
  • Factors contributing to youth suicide 
  • Response to suicidal subjects, including mental illness and deescalation

The summit will also address marijuana and drugs prevalence in schools. 

"We can't harden our schools and put in just locks and worry about security measures alone," said Christine Harms, Director of the Colorado School Safety Center. "We have to think about connectedness to school because when kids feel connected and feel safe at school, they're much less likely to do anything violent."

RELATED: Mental health resources for Colorado residents

The Adams 12 Five Star Schools' conference center is located at 1500 E. 128th. Ave in Thornton. 

The Colorado Department of Public Safety's School Safety Resource Center worked with the University of Colorado Boulder's Center for the Study and Prevention of Violence and Safe2Tell to host the summit.

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