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Center for the School of the Future

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1 Center for the School of the Future
Bullying Prevention Tim G. Smith Director of Outreach Center for the School of the Future Utah State University My name is Tim Smith. I am the Director of Outreach at the Center for the School of the Future at Utah State University. The Center is a research Center dedicated to helping to improve public education by identifying, researching, and developing best practices. I want to makes something very clear today as I begin discussion on this topic. Nothing I present here today will make a difference in neighborhoods, in schools, or in the home without your efforts. For me the purpose of conferences is to broaden your perspective and energize your efforts. I hope that there will be something in this presentation that will provide you with some tools for making a difference.

2 Bullying Defined “Being bullied is not just an unpleasant rite of passage through childhood. It’s a public health problem that merits attention. People who are bullied as children are more likely to suffer from depression and low self esteem, well into adulthood, and the bullies themselves are more likely to engage in criminal behavior later in life”(Duane Alexander, Director, National Institute of Child Health and Human Development)

3 The Definition

4 Bullying Defined “Bullying occurs when a student or group of students targets an individual repeatedly over time, using physical or psychological aggression to dominate the victim (Hoover & Oliver, 1996; Rigby, 1995; USDOE, 1998).”

5 Bullying Defined “A student is being bullied or victimized when he or she is exposed, repeatedly and over time, to negative actions on the part of one or more students” (Elliot, 2002)

6 Bullying at Large Bullying in families Bullying in the workplace
Bullying in society Bullying in schools

7 Some Data

8 Some Data 1 in 10 students in grades 4-6 are bullied regularly
90% middle school students report observing bullying while 80% claim they have been victims 16,000 students miss school every day due to fear of bullies (Lee, 1993)

9 Bullying is a symptom of a much larger problem of antisocial behavior

10 Antisocial Behavior Recurrent violations of socially prescribed patterns of behavior Hostility, aggression, defiance, willingness to violate rules Aversive to others Deviation from accepted rules and expected standards Deviance across a range of settings

11 Antisocial Behavior Facts and Findings
Involves more boys than girls Early antisocial behavior predicts adolescent delinquency Antisocial behavior persisting beyond third grade is chronic problem Antisocial children are at risk for long term problems 70% of youth identified as antisocial are arrested within 3 yrs. of leaving school The vast majority of antisocial children are boys; antisocial behavior in girls is less evident and expressed differently than in boys (i.e.., antisocial behavior among girls is more often self-directed than outer-directed). There are two types of antisocial behavior (overt and covert). Overt involves acts against people; covert involves acts against property and/or self-abuse. By adolescence, many at-risk children display both forms, which escalates their risk status substantially. Antisocial behavior early in a child’s school career is the single best predictor of delinquency in adolescence. Three years after leaving school, 70% of antisocial youth have been arrested at least once. The stability of aggressive behavior over a decade is approximately equal to that for intelligence. The correlation for IQ over ten years is .70; for aggressive behavior, it approximates .80. Antisocial children can be identified very accurately at age 3 or 4. The more severe the antisocial behavior pattern, the more stable it is over the long term and across settings (for example,home and school); severity is also associated with higher risk for negative developmental outcomes and for police contacts/arrest. If an antisocial behavior pattern is not changed by the end of grade 3, it should be treated as a chronic condition, much like diabetes. That is, it cannot be cured but can be managed with the appropriate supports and continuing interventions. Early intervention in home, school, and community is the single best hope we have of diverting children from this path. Children who grow up antisocial are at severe risk for a host of long-term, negative developmental outcomes, including school dropout, vocational adjustment problems, drug and alcohol abuse, relationship problems, and higher hospitalization and mortality rates. Using three measures of school-related adjustment in grade 5, the arrest status of a high-risk sample can be correctly predicted in 80% of cases five years later. These measures are (1) a 5-minute teacher rating of social skills, (2) two 20-minute observations of negative-aggressive behavior on the playground involving peers, and (3) the number of discipline contacts with the principal’s office that are written up and placed in the child’s permanent school record.


13 Trends Teenage violence has more than doubled in the past ten years (Gegax & Bai, 1999) Each year between 2,500 and 3,000 teenagers are arrested and charged in the death of others teenagers and adults. Between 1985 and 1994 the arrests fo year-old children and youth for homicide, rape, robbery, and assault increased by 70% (Walsh, 1997). In a single month, one in nine of the nation’s high school students brought a weapon to school (Burke, 1998).

14 Some Causes

15 Role of the Media By the time children start school, they will have seen over 8,000 murders on television and over 100,000 violent acts. By the time they graduate from high school, these numbers will double (American Academy of Child and Adolescents Psychiatry, 1995) Lyrics from Michael Mather , best known as Eminem, talk about sticking nails through eyelids and slitting parents’ throats. Children have access to video games like Doom, Diablo, and Kingpin, which advertises “multiplayer gang bang death” and “see the damage done including exit wounds”

16 Role of the Media Media has led to increased desensitization to violence and victims of violence (American Psychological Association, 1993). Youth accept violence as a way to solve problems (American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, 1995) Increased aggressiveness and antisocial behavior. Teenage life is defined by the media. Increased fear of becoming a victim Increased appetite for more violence.

17 Role of the Family Children increasingly live in dysfunctional families Abused children grow up impulsive, aggressive, antisocial, and lacking in empathy and sensitivity to the people and world around them. Over half of today’s teenagers have lived through their parents’ divorce and reside with a single parent or divide their time between two households. Sixty-three percent of teenagers live in households where both parents work outside the home. Among all the issues adolescents rank as their top concerns, the number one issue is loneliness. (Stevenson & Schneider)

18 Role of the Family Family history with problem behavior
Family management problems Family conflict Favorable parental attitudes or involvement in problem behavior Family members don't spend much time together Lack of parental supervision Lack of clear expectations, limits and consequences

19 Role of the Community Alcohol and other drugs readily available
Laws and ordinances are unclear or inconsistently enforced Norms are unclear Residents feel little sense of "connection" to community Neighborhood disorganization High mobility Extreme economic deprivation Lack of strong social institutions Lack of monitoring youths' activities Inadequate media portrayals

20 Role of the School Lack of clear expectations, both academic and behavioral Lack of commitment or sense of belonging at school Academic failure Parents and community members not actively involved Punitive environment

21 High Risk Environments
Poverty Dysfunctional families Childhood abuse Failure to bond with adults or develop positive relationships with adults Exposure to media violence School failure and school problems

22 Warning Signs

23 Toddler and Preschool Has many temper tantrums in a single day, or several lasting more than 15 minutes, and often cannot be calmed by parents, family members, or other caregivers Has many aggressive outbursts, often for no reason Is extremely active, impulsive, and fearless Consistently refuses to follow directions and listen to adults Does not seem attached to parents Frequently watches violence on television, engages in play that has violent themes, or is cruel toward other children

24 Elementary Child Has trouble paying attention and concentrating
Often disrupts classroom activities Does poorly in school Frequently gets into fights with other children in school Reacts to disappointments, criticism, or teasing with extreme and intense anger, blame, or revenge Watches many violent television shows and movies or plays a lot of violent video games

25 Elementary Child Has few friends and is often rejected by other children because of behavior Makes friends with other children known to be unruly or aggressive Consistently does not listen to adults Is not sensitive to the feelings of others Is cruel or violent toward pets or other animals

26 Preteen and Adolescent
Consistently does not listen to authority figures Pays not attention to the feelings or rights of others Mistreats people and seems to rely on physical violence or threats of violence to solve problems Often expresses the feeling that life has treated him or her unfairly Does poorly in school and often skips classes Misses school frequently for unidentifiable reason

27 Preteen and Adolescent
Gets suspended from or drops out of school Joins a gang, gets involved in fighting, stealing, or destroying property Drinks alcohol and/or uses inhalants or drugs

28 The Solutions

29 Recent research has shown that the risk of youth developing patterns of various types of antisocial behavior, including the use of alcohol and other drugs, aggressive and violent behavior, and gang activity, can be lessened by developing certain protective assets and skills. These include social and self-management skills, academic proficiency including reading, and improved relationships with family members and school personnel (Gardner & Resnick, 1996; Hawkins & Catalano, 1992; Schorr, 1988; West, Young, Mitchem & Calderella, 1998).

30 Prevention and Intervention vs. Detention

31 Child can’t read Teach

32 Child can’t behave Punish

33 Child can’t read Punish Avoid, escape, aggression

34 Child can’t behave Punish Avoid, escape, aggression

35 Family Protective Factors
Close family relationships Consistency of parenting Copes with stress in a positive way Education is valued, encouraged, and parents are involved Share family responsibilities, including chores and decision making Family members are nurturing and support each other Clear expectations, limits and consequences

36 Community Protective Factors
Community service opportunities available for youth Laws and ordinances are consistently enforced Informal social control Opportunities exist for community involvement Positive relationships with other adults encouraged Strong religious or social composition Resources (housing, healthcare, childcare, jobs, recreation, etc.) are available Neighbors share responsibility for monitoring youth

37 School Protective Factors
Communicates high academic and behavioral expectations Encourages goal-setting, academic achievement and positive social development Positive attitudes toward school Fosters active involvement of students, parents and community members

38 PRINCIPLES Clear, consistent expectations and consequences
Positive adult relationships Teaching emphasis Academic Skills Social Skills Self-management Skills Recognition for appropriate behavior

39 Parent Support Student achievement related to parent support is not limited to the early years, but is significant at all ages and grade levels. Children of involved parents achieve more, regardless of socioeconomic status, ethnic/racial background, or the parents’ education level. Children of involved parents have higher grades, test scores and better attendance, and they are more likely to graduate from high school and have greater enrollments in post-secondary education.

40 Parent Support When it comes to student behavior, children of involved parents exhibit more positive attitudes and behavior. Children of involved parents have fewer instances of alcohol use, violence, and antisocial behavior.

41 Helping the Victim The Parent
Teach and provide strategies for appropriately avoiding and escaping situations. Develop strong relationships with adults so they feel comfortable in talking. The School Don’t turn a blind eye to bullying Listen to parents concerns Train students on what to do if they observe bullying.

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