Olweus Bullying Prevention Program
A grant was recently received from the Plum Creek Grant Foundation for the purchasing of materials and training for the Systemic Olweus Bullying Prevention Program (OBPP). The following is a brief synopsis of OBPP's basic concepts and methodologies along with empirical evidence.
With over thirty-five years of research and successful implementation throughout the world, the Olweus Bullying Prevention Program (OBPP) is a systems-change program proven to prevent or reduce bullying by involving everyone who comes in contact with students at the school, classroom, individual, and community levels. OBPP aims to restructure the elementary, middle, and junior high school environment to reduce opportunities and rewards for bullying.
· Identifies and shares feelings in appropriate ways.
· Knows ways to seek assistance if worried, abused, or threatened (physically, emotionally, or sexually).
· Knows characteristics needed to be a responsible friend and family member.
· Knows behaviors that communicate care, consideration, and respect of self and others.
· Understands how one responds to the behavior of others and how one’s behavior may evoke responses in others.
· Knows strategies for resisting negative peer pressure.
· Knows the difference between positive and negative behaviors used in conflict situations.
· Knows some nonviolent strategies to resolve conflicts.
· Knows behaviors that are safe, risky, or harmful to self and others.
· Understands how peer relationships affect health.
· Knows appropriate ways to build and maintain positive relationships with peers, parents, and other adults.
· Understands the difference between safe and risky or harmful behaviors in relationships.
· Knows techniques for seeking help and support through appropriate resources.
· Knows potential signs of self- and other-directed violence.
· Knows the various possible causes of conflict among youth in schools and communities, and strategies to manage conflict.
Bullying requires tailored interventions that are distinct from those effective in conflict mediation. OBPP stresses that bullying prevention is not conflict resolution—which assumes that both parties in conflict share some responsibility and the goal is usually compromise—as the student who is bullied cannot be expected to negotiate a resolution. Bullying is about an imbalance of power and a form of “peer abuse.” Conflict resolution models assume equality of both power and responsibility. Applying conflict resolution strategies to a bullying relationship jeopardizes the bullied student by assigning blame and requiring actions beyond that child’s social capacity while freeing the student who bullies from a degree of responsibility.
OBPP is not a curriculum. However, regular class meetings will be held with students, during which key concepts about bullying and related topics are discussed. Among the topics for discussion are the following:
OBPP has been more thoroughly evaluated than any other bullying prevention/reduction program so far. Six large-scale evaluations involving more than 40,000 students have documented effective results:
· A 20 to 70 percent reduction in student reports of being bullied and bullying others.
· Reduction in existing bully and victim problems as well as prevention of new cases of bullying.
· Significant reductions in student reports of general antisocial behaviors (e.g., vandalism, fighting, theft, and truancy).
· Significant improvements in classroom order and discipline.
· More positive attitudes toward schoolwork and school.
· Improved peer relations at school.
Using OBPP will also help schools meet portions of many federal mandates and programs they are already administering, such as Safe and Drug-Free Schools, school connectedness, high-stakes testing, juvenile delinquency prevention, school dropout prevention, school health programs, suicide prevention, and the promotion of developmental assets. Since research has also shown that there is a correlation between bullying and academic performance, OBPP may help schools improve their results in statewide student achievement assessments and No Child Left Behind requirements as well.
Significant long-term benefits:
Physical and mental health effects: Beyond the perpetration of violence, bullying also has serious physical and mental health consequences. An estimated 160,000
Community benefits: Studies by Dan Olweus, Ph.D., show how bullying can affect the community at large because students who bully are more apt to commit crimes or abuse drugs. One such study found that students who bully are five times as likely as non-bullying students to become adult criminals, while those they target are more likely to be depressed as adults or suffer from substance abuse. Olweus found that bullying prevention lowers rates of vandalism, fighting, theft, and truancy, while improving the overall school climate.
. Dan Olweus, “Bully/Victim Problems among Schoolchildren: Basic Facts and Effects of a School-Based Intervention Program,” in The Development and Treatment of Childhood Aggression, ed. D. Pepler and K. Rubin (Hillsdale, NJ: Erlbaum, 1991), 411–48; Dan Olweus, “A Useful Evaluation Design, and Effects of the Olweus Bullying Prevention Program,” Psychology, Crime & Law 11 (2005): 389–402; Dan Olweus and Susan P. Limber, Blueprints for Violence Prevention: Bullying Prevention Program (Boulder: Program Institute of Behavioral Science, University of Colorado, 1999); Jan Helge Kallestad and Dan Olweus, “Predicting Teachers’ and Schools’ Implementation of the Olweus Bullying Prevention Program: A Multilevel Study,”
Prevention and Treatment 6 (2003): 3–21.
. C. B. Fleming, K. P. Haggerty, R. F. Catalano, T.W. Harachi, J. J. Mazza, and D. H. Gruman, “Do Social and Behavioral Characteristics Targeted by Preventive Interventions Predict Standardized Test Scores and Grades?” Journal of School Health 75 (2005): 342–49.