Summary of Recent Publication- The Implementation of a Statewide Bullying Prevention Program: Preliminary Findings from the Field and the Importance of Coalitions

Schroeder, B. A., Messina, A., Schroeder, D., Good, K., Barto, S., Saylor, J., & Masiello, M. (2012). The implementation of a statewide bullying prevention program: preliminary findings from the field and the importance of coalitions Health Promot Pract (Vol. 13, pp. 489-495). United States.

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Recognizing bullying and low-level violence as a serious public health concern, The Center for Health Promotion and Disease Prevention at the Windber Research Institute has effectively shown to reduce bullying in schools through the Olweus Bullying Prevention Program (OBPP). Bullying is defined as a person being repeatedly exposed to negative actions by one or more person while lacking the ability to defend themselves (Olweus, 1993). Studies show in American schools, bullying affects nearly 30% of all students, daily, causing feelings of decreased safety, low personal satisfaction and self-esteem, and anxiety. Victims may experience low academic achievement, a greater chance of dropout, and absenteeism in schools. In taking a systematic, evidence-based approach, OBPP has been applied to populations worldwide, being labeled as the most effective bullying prevention programs in the world and is endorsed by the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP). OBPP utilizes four components of concentration in the program: school, classroom, individual, and community initiatives.

In 2000, the Highmark Foundation developed the Highmark Health High 5 initiative and started to provide more than six million dollars of funding to two bullying prevention programs.  Both HALT! A Bullying Prevention Program, led by the Windber Research Institute, and PA CARES (Creating an Atmosphere of Respect and Environment for Success), led by the Pennsylvania Department of Education, coordinated their programs along the guidelines of the OBPP.  HALT! and PA CARES determined an overall goal to provide and monitor bullying prevention strategies to schools across western and central Pennsylvania. This effort was informed by the PRECEDE-PROCEDE framework.

With HALT! (WRI) managing district-wide implementation and PA CARES (Department of Education) monitoring building-only implementation, the Olweus Bullying Questionnaire (OBQ) was provided for students to evaluate student bullying behavior, perceptions, and teacher’s responsiveness.  Surveys were collected from HALT! cohorts after two years of program implementation providing positive results.  High school bullying reductions were reported in bullying between 15% and 39%.  Teachers spoke to students regularly about bullying, marking increases of anywhere between 14% and 131%.  Overall, the communication of bullying perceptions and school rules regarding bullying had increased in students, ranging from 17% to 69%.  Additionally, the program increased parental involvement in student bullying between 14% and 81%.  In elementary schools, more students testified to be willing to aid bully victims.  The data collected seemed to support the overall OBPP observation that bullying prevention efforts are more effective on a long-term basis.

On a large scale, the Olweus Bullying Prevention Program and charitable foundations have taken a leadership role, making public health of children a priority.  Collaborating on bullying prevention efforts has resulted in school success on a long-term basis.  By providing partnerships compared with the public health model, students may experience benefits in school climate, the community, and their lives.

 

 

References

Olweus, Dan. (1993). Bullying at school : what we know and what we can do. Oxford, UK ; Cambridge, USA: Blackwell.

 

 

 

 

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