On October 19, 2013, Commander Edwin Lopez was the keynote speaker at the National Voices for Equality, Education and Enlightenment (NVEEE) Summit, which was held at the Florida International University, College of Law. Prior to giving his address, Commander Lopez met with NVEEE staff and gave an interview that will be made available on the foundation’s website. He answered questions related to the causes of bullying, prevention strategies and programs, bullying as a crime, parental involvement and the correlation of crime and bullying. He also provided detailed information on the Miami-Dade Schools Police Department’s prevention programs, the history of bullying, parental strategies to combat bullying, and Chief Ian Moffett’s strong support of bullying prevention initiatives. He also spoke specifically about the Columbine and Virginia Tech shootings – two tragic incidents that stemmed from cases of bullying.
After the interview session, Commander Lopez delivered the keynote address inside the mock courtroom within the College of Law. The audience was comprised of bullying victims and offenders, parents, teachers and administrators, politicians and legal professionals. He spoke in detail on the proactive role of the Department in combating bullying, and also spoke of his personal experiences in dealing with bullying, both in the classroom as a teacher, and as a School Resource Officer (SRO). He elaborated on the skill-set that makes a successful SRO, and the hiring campaign underway to seek officers with those traits. Commander Lopez also expounded on the relationship between bullying and crime, and other juvenile issues, such as self-esteem, dating, texting/sexting, social media, cyber bullying, harassment, and teen suicide.
At the conclusion of his 40 minute presentation, Commander Lopez engaged in a Q&A session allowing him to answer numerous questions from the audience. He had the opportunity to meet several parents whose children had committed suicide, as well as bullying victims and advocates who fight to bring much needed attention to this cause daily. By all accounts, the NVEEE event was a huge success and the presentation made a strong and lasting impression on all attendees.