"The message is very clear: If you don't do something systematically, chances are that those who are victimized at a certain point in time will very likely be victimized even many years afterwards."
- Dan Olweus, 2002 OSDFS National
Technical Assistance Meeting
Two agencies within the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services -- the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) and the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) -- are now collaborating with numerous partners across the nation to develop and launch evidence-based media campaigns to prevent bullying.
HRSA's National Bullying Prevention Campaign
HRSA's Maternal and Child Health Bureau is developing a new national bullying prevention campaign designed to reach tweens -- 9- through 13-year-old youth -- and the adults who shape their world. This multi-year public awareness and prevention effort is the largest campaign ever designed to reach this age group to help prevent bullying. The campaign will include advice from young people, public service announcements, online materials, bullying prevention resource kits, and a national launch event. It will employ a cast of animated characters to depict bullying scenarios and their resolutions in entertaining "Webisodes" on the Web site. The characters also will appear in the public service announcements.
Two years of intensive research will have gone into the development of marketing strategies, messages, and products by the time the National Bullying Prevention Campaign launches. Numerous organizations and individuals are assisting with the development of the Campaign, including representatives from government, nonprofit, faith-based and corporate sectors; and a Youth Expert Panel of tweens and teens. This project is part of the congressionally funded National Youth Media Campaign.
"We hope that this campaign stimulates everyone to action and to get involved in stopping bullying and improving respect for all."
- Stephanie Bryn,
director of injury and
Maternal and Child
Click here to read some remarks to the National Bullying Prevention Campaign Steering Committee from Elizabeth M. Duke, administrator, Health Resources and Services Administration.
An integral feature of the National Bullying Prevention Campaign will be the Bullying Prevention Resource Kit. This kit will be the Campaign's central vehicle for disseminating information on bullying and bullying prevention initiatives. Public service announcements and media publicity will encourage interested tweens, teens, and adults to visit the campaign Web site. Visitors coming to the Web site will be directed to the Resource Kit for a comprehensive inventory of existing programs and resources (books, videos, CD-ROMs) on bullying. You are encouraged to visit the Campaign Web site to learn more about this important initiative and to submit information about quality bullying prevention materials for possible inclusion in the kit.
Click here to learn more the types of resources that will be included in the Bullying Prevention Resource Kit.
SAMHSA's Bullying Prevention Campaign
SAMHSA is gearing up this year to launch a bullying prevention campaign titled 15+ Make Time to Listen, Take Time to Talk . . . About Bullying. Based on research showing that parents who spend 15 minutes or more a day with their children can have a positive effect on their children's behavior and the family as a unit, this campaign will have three main goals: to raise public awareness of bullying, recommend a call to action, and create opportunities to handle and prevent bullying behavior.
SAMHSA's bullying prevention campaign includes three core products for parents and caregivers:
15+ Make Time to Listen, Take Time to Talk . . . About Bullying is a
brochure that helps parents understand the range of feelings children may experience about bullying and bullying prevention and provides guidelines
for listening and talking to children appropriately.
Bullying is NOT a Fact of Life: A Guide for Parents/Teachers provides
greater insight into how parents, teachers, or school personnel can talk to
young people about bullying.
Conversation starter cards promote behaviors that protect against bullying
or the potential for becoming a bully. In playing card format, these cards
provide specific questions about bullying that a parent or teacher can discuss with young people.
In addition, SAMHSA has planned four public service announcements with ABC affiliate ABC-7 (WJLA-TV) to be aired during the school year. Parents and other adults are the primary target audience. All public service announcements will include a toll-free number for callers to request copies of print materials.
State Anti-Bullying Legislation and Policies
A great deal can be done about school bullying at the state level. Legislators can earmark funds for bullying prevention, encourage school leaders to provide training for students and staff, and highlight the importance of including anti-bullying policies in efforts to create safer schools. During the 2000-2001 legislative sessions, for example, several states either debated or adopted legislation requiring school districts to develop anti-bullying policies. Although provisions vary from state to state, most legislation covers the following:
Acknowledges that if students are to learn and achieve to high standards,
they must feel safe and secure at school
Advises state departments of education to develop model anti-bullying
policies and prevention programs to share with school districts
Mandates individual school districts to develop and implement anti-bullying
policies and/or programs, and to report those policies and programs to the state education department
While zero tolerance policies have become increasingly popular in schools across the country, they may actually hinder a school's efforts to prevent bullying among students. Click here to learn more.
Recommends that school employees receive training on addressing bullying
behavior in the classroom and on school grounds
Encourages school districts to form an anti-bullying task force, composed of
parents, students, counselors, and law enforcement in addition to school staff
Click here for information about state anti-bullying policies and laws.
Let's look at how two states are addressing the issue of bullying in schools.
Oklahoma: Tahlequah Public Schools in Oklahoma
has, for the past four years, been implementing an exemplary anti-bullying program that sparked legislation mandating that all schools in the state create or adopt bullying-related policies. According to Fred Poteete, one of Tahlequah's middle school coordinators, "Our main goal is to help students that display bullying behavior or their targets to change that behavior, because bullying is a learned behavior and it can be unlearned."
Poteete briefly describes their strategy:
"First of all, we define bullying as a type of violence that occurs when someone uses (his or her) powers unfairly and repeatedly to hurt someone else. Secondly, we train everyone at the school -- including faculty, staff, students, and even bus drivers and cooks in the cafeteria -- on how to recognize bullying. Once they know how to recognize it, then we set a system in place to report anything seen as bullying when it occurs."
State Senator Herb Rozell, who introduced the bill, said that, while Oklahoma is not the first state to pass an anti-bullying law, "We went a little further with the language in our bill. Our bill goes as far as saying that not just physical violence is considered bullying; we also included gestures and frowns, and fingers can be bullying." The bill passed without opposition in the State Legislature, and schools were given until November 1, 2002, to put their policies in place.
Click here to read a press release about Oklahoma's anti-bullying law from the Oklahoma State Senate.
New Jersey: "New Jersey Cares About Bullying" is a
statewide campaign designed to help educators, parents, law enforcement, community, and government leaders develop comprehensive strategies to prevent bullying, particularly biased-based bullying, among young people. As part of this multifaceted initiative, Governor James McGreevey signed an anti-bullying bill into law on September 6, 2002.
This law requires that every school district have consistent (though not identical) policies regarding bullying in place by September 2003 that include definitions, consequences, and procedures for reporting and investigating incidents. The Commissioner of Education released a model policy on December 1, 2002 that specifically includes protection for groups defined by "race, color, religion, ancestry, national origin, gender, sexual orientation, gender identity and expression, or a mental, physical, or sensory handicap, or by any other distinguishing characteristic."
Click here to learn more about New Jersey's anti-bullying law.
Click here for the New Jersey Department of Education's
model anti-bullying policy.
Click here to read an article by Randy Ross, Coordinator of New Jersey Cares About Bullying.
Preventing Discrimination Against LGBT Students
The New Jersey policy mentioned above includes language specific to the protection of LGBT students. Since this population is at particularly high risk for all forms of bullying, as mentioned on the first day of this event, it is important to consider some issues specific to this group when drafting an anti-bullying policy. First, consider the difference between harassment and discrimination: While prohibiting harassment is certainly an important and helpful step, a broader prohibition that extends to discrimination will provide even greater protection for LGBT students -- and all other students, for that matter. For example, an anti-harassment policy would not protect an LGBT student if he or she were barred by a school official from participating in a school competition due to concerns that the student's presence might reflect badly on the school. An anti-discrimination prohibition, on the other hand, has a much better chance of addressing this unfair action.
Furthermore, many students are victimized because they are perceived to be lesbian, gay, or bisexual even if they are not, or even if their sexual orientation is unknown. This type of discrimination is clearly wrong and harmful as well, and policies and laws should explicitly address this issue by defining sexual orientation as "actual or perceived heterosexuality, homosexuality, or bisexuality." It is also important to include language specific to the protection of transgender students, who often suffer discrimination because of their gender identities. For example, a policy or law could clarify that the definition of "sex" and/or "gender" includes "gender identity" or could amend the definition of "sexual orientation" to include "gender identity."
Click here for a brochure from the Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network titled "Adding Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity to Discrimination and Harassment Policies in School: Questions and Answers."
Bullying Prevention Programs
Although most state legislation proposes a number of criteria for schools and districts to follow when developing anti-bullying programs and policies, it also strongly recommends that local prevention activities be developed in collaboration with parents, teachers, school staff, volunteers, students, administrators, and community members. As with any legislation directed toward schools, providing opportunities for local input and involvement is likely to create greater support for prevention activities than mandating a strict course of action. According to Ron Slaby, senior scientist at Education Development Center, Inc., the following are 10 core characteristics of effective bullying prevention programs and related policies that school and community members should keep in mind when creating their initiative:
Evidence-Based: The program should be built upon principles of science and
supported by scientifically valid evidence of effectiveness. It should be replicable, accountable, and open to modification based on research evidence.
Buy-In: The program should motivate participants and other stakeholders to
believe that bullying is a serious and preventable problem, that the specific program selected will work, and that they themselves can make a difference.
Shared Vision: The program and its supporting policy
should promote a common understanding of the problem, ways to address it, clear roles and responsibilities, and ongoing communication among members of the school
Support for Implementation: The program should provide a systematic
method, curricular materials, and useful tools for staff training, program delivery, and program maintenance.
User-Friendly: The program should present strategies that are clear, relevant,
and comprehensible to both teachers and students. In order to achieve a high degree of user-friendliness, the strategies should be developed and revised through formative evaluation based on user feedback.
Focus on Habits of Thought: The program should
change habitual patterns of thought and action that support bullying. This goal includes helping students develop new skills, challenge old beliefs, and replace impulsive with reflective decision-making.
Practice: The program should offer structured and repeated opportunities for
students to apply and adapt new habits of thought and action -- both during training sessions and at other times (e.g., through modeling, role-playing, and giving corrective feedback to self and others).
Bystander Involvement: The program should engage bystanders, as well as
bullies and victims. It should address shared beliefs that support bullying, promote awareness of the influence that bystanders can have, break the "code of silence," and provide support for safe and effective bystander involvement.
Over three-quarters of the youths who became “school shooters” told peers or adults of their plans or engaged in behavior that alerted others to the possibility of violence. In nearly two-thirds of those cases, two or more people had information about the attack prior to its occurrence.
- Vossekuil and colleagues (2002), The Final Report and
Findings of the Safe School Initiative: Implications for the Prevention of School Attacks in the United States
Mutual Commitment and Responsibility: The program and its supporting
policy should call upon all members of the school and community to redefine their shared commitment and responsibility toward bullying. This includes adopting a proactive bystander strategy, practicing the ideals of participatory democracy, and calling upon an infusion (rather than a diffusion) of responsibility for everyone.
Sustainability: The program and its supporting policy should empower
participants to broaden and sustain prevention activities -- developing support systems at all levels, and turning limited interventions into a broad schoolwide philosophy.
Federal agencies and other national organizations have recently undertaken large-scale reviews of the numerous prevention programs that are currently available to schools and communities. These initiatives have established strict criteria, similar to those described above, for assessing the quality and effectiveness of programs. The following are just a few of the programs that have been identified by these important review efforts as potentially effective in addressing the problem of bullying among young people. To learn more about the programs listed here, as well as other high-quality programs identified by federal and national reviews, visit this event's Resources & Links section.
Click here for a brief overview of the criteria used by federal and national program review initiatives.
Aggressors, Victims, and Bystanders (AVB): Thinking and Acting to Prevent
Violence has been designated a "promising program" by the U.S. Department of Education's Office of Safe and Drug-Free Schools. AVB is one of the Teenage Health Teaching Modules. This set of modules as a whole was also designated a "promising program" by the Office of Safe and Drug-Free Schools and by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, as well as a "select program" by the Collaborative for Academic, Social, and Emotional Learning (CASEL). AVB is typically delivered in 12 classroom sessions, and it emphasizes the critical role of bystanders in preventing bullying and other forms of school violence. At the heart of the program is the "Think-First Model of Conflict Resolution," which includes the following steps: (1) keep cool, (2) size up the situation, (3) think it through, and (4) do the right thing. Students are provided with opportunities, in small and large groups, to practice all four steps.
Click here for some information about and a testament to the implementation of AVB in Palm Beach County, Florida.
Don't Laugh at Me was developed as a joint project between Operation
Respect, a non-profit organization founded by Peter Yarrow of the folk group
Peter, Paul & Mary, and Educators for Social Responsibility (ESR). Linda Lantieri, who developed ESR's Resolving Conflict Creatively Program (RCCP), was the principal program designer, and RCCP has been recognized as a "select program" by the Collaborative for Academic, Social, and Emotional Learning (CASEL). Don't Laugh at Me is a series of programs (one for grades 2 through 5, another for grades 6 through 8, and a third for summer camps and after-school programs) that use inspiring music and video, along with curriculum guides based on those of RCCP. This series deals intensively with the need to address issues of difference among students.
While traditional peer mediation and conflict resolution programs may help students deal with certain kinds of conflict, they are unlikely to be effective and may even be detrimental when dealing with bullying problems at school. Click here to learn more.
The Incredible Years (TIY) has been designated a "model program" by both the
Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration and the Blueprints
for Violence Prevention Initiative at the Center for the Study and Prevention of Violence. Functioning on the premise that the best time to teach children to control their aggression is when they are first learning aggression, TIY was first designed for children aged 2 to 8 with high levels of aggressive behavior. In the original version of this program, parents and children were trained in problem-solving and non-aggressive social skills. This program has also tested positively as a broader anti-aggression program for a general audience of children in preschool and early elementary school. In this version, the program serves all children in a classroom rather than targeting only the troubled children and their parents. TIY counselors train parents, teachers, and family service workers to promote and support positive behaviors among children.
While some forms of group treatment can be effective for aggressive children, such strategies have the potential to be counterproductive when dealing with bullies. Click here to learn more.
Linking the Interests of Families and Teachers (LIFT), a 10-week anti-
aggression program, has been designated a "promising program" by the U.S. Department of Education's Office of Safe and Drug-Free Schools, the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, and the Blueprints for Violence Prevention initiative at the Center for the Study and Prevention of Violence. This program has three major components: (a) classroom-based problem-solving and social skills training for students, (b) parent training, and (c) playground-based behavior modification. Students learn new skills and parents learn how to support and reinforce those skills, which are tested on the playground. Adult monitors reward individuals and groups who practice positive behaviors and reduce privileges in response to aggressive behaviors. The goal is to promote social coping strategies among students and create an environment in which parents, teachers, and peers work together to help prevent aggression and bullying.
Steps to Respect was developed by the Committee for Children as a
supplement to their Second Step program, which has been designated an "exemplary program" by the U.S. Department of Education's Office of Safe and Drug-Free Schools, a "model program" by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, and a "select program" by the Collaborative for Academic, Social, and Emotional Learning (CASEL). This program trains adults to effectively deal with bullying while teaching skills to help children develop healthy relationships and decrease bullying behavior. Language arts and social and emotional learning are combined in the curriculum's literature lessons, which are based on popular children's books.
The programs described here are valuable additions to any school's efforts to create a safe and comfortable learning environment for students. They all have the potential to be implemented within the context of a comprehensive school safety program, and some even include elements that extend beyond the classroom -- such as parent training and information for school administrators. However, as valuable as these programs are, none of them are actually considered comprehensive bullying prevention programs. The Bullying Prevention Program, developed by Dan Olweus, is a well-researched and widely-used comprehensive program that has been designated a "model program" by both the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration and the Blueprints for Violence Prevention initiative at the Center for the Study and Prevention of Violence. This program will be the focus of tomorrow's session on the need for a comprehensive approach to the prevention of bullying.
Now that we have examined various bullying prevention strategies -- including educational campaigns, state anti-bullying legislation and policies, and school-based programs, we will go on tomorrow to explore the need for and components of a comprehensive approach to the prevention of bullying problems at school. First, we will briefly review two comprehensive school improvement programs that have been widely recognized in federal and national reviews. Next, we will look closely at the Olweus Bullying Prevention Program as an exemplar of a comprehensive bullying prevention initiative. Finally, we will explore some bullying prevention action steps for school administrators, teachers, parents, and students.
Please think about the questions below and share your responses, comments, and/or any questions about today's material in the Discussion Area.
Site, which is part of HRSA's National Bullying Prevention Campaign. If you know of any materials that may be appropriate for the kit, please consider submitting them now and sharing them with fellow event participants.
In addition to taking part in educational campaigns, the
media can also address bullying by featuring it in television programs. Although such portrayals do not always help us think about how to effectively prevent or cope with bullying problems, some programs (e.g., Seventh Heaven) have recently dealt with this topic in a productive manner. Have you seen any media portrayals of bullying that have been helpful? Harmful?
Does your school, district, or state have an anti-bullying policy? If so,
please describe any benefits that you have noticed as a result of the policy.
If "zero tolerance" is a part of your policy, please describe any benefits or challenges that you have noticed in relation to bullying prevention.
This completes today's work.
Please visit the Discussion Area to share your
responses to the discussion questions!
Day 3 Youth Artwork:
2. Bullying Should Not Be Allowed: This picture is from the Chill Out Space of the Bullying.
Center for the Study and Prevention of Violence. Blueprints for Violence Prevention. Available on-line at: www.colorado.edu/cspv/blueprints/index.html. Retrieved January, 2004.
Colbert, D. (2003). An End to Bullying: SAMHSA Expands 15+ Program. SAMHSA News, 11 (4). Available on-line at: www.samhsa.gov/news/Newsletter/VolumeXI_4/article6.htm. Retrieved January, 2004.
Collaborative for Academic, Social, and Emotional Learning. (2003). Safe and Sound: An Education Leader's Guide to Evidence-Based Social and Emotional Learning (SEL) Programs. Available on-line at: www.casel.org/projects_products/safeandsound2.php. Retrieved January, 2004.
Health Resources and Services Administration. Bullying Resource Submission Site. Available on-line at: www.bullyingresources.org/. Retrieved January, 2004.
Limber, S. P. (2003). Implementation of the Olweus Bullying Prevention Program: Lessons Learned from the Field. In D. Espelage & S. Swearer (Eds.) Bullying in American Schools: A Social-Ecological Perspective (pp. 351-364). Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, Inc.
Northwest Regional Educational Laboratory. Schoolwide Prevention of Bullying. Available on-line at: www.nwrel.org/request/dec01/foreword.html. Retrieved January, 2004.
Olweus, D. (2002). Bully Prevention: Research and Strategies. Presentation audiotaped at the 2nd National Technical Assistance Meeting: Leave No Child Behind, U.S. Department of Education, Office of Safe and Drug-Free Schools, Washington, DC, August. [A.V.E.R. Associates, 6974 Ducketts Lane, Elkridge, MD 21075; 410-796-8940].
Safe and Drug-Free Schools Program. Safe, Disciplined, and Drug-Free Expert Panel. Available on-line at: www.ed.gov/admins/lead/safety/exemplary01/panel.html?exp=0. Retrieved January, 2004.
Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. SAMHSA Model Programs: Effective Substance Abuse and Mental Health Programs for Every Community. Available on-line at: modelprograms.samhsa.gov/. Retrieved January, 2004.
Vossekuil, B., Fein, R. A., Reddy, M., Borum, R., & Modzeleski, W. (2002). The Final Report and Findings of the Safe School Initiative: Implications for the Prevention of School Attacks in the United States. Available on-line at: www.secretservice.gov/ntac/ssi_final_report.pdf. Retrieved January, 2004.
Zehr, M.A. (May 16, 2001). Legislatures Take on Bullies with New Laws. Education Week, 20(36), 18, 22.