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Best Practices in Bullying Prevention: One Size Does Not Fit All Presented by Kathleen Conn, Ph.D., J.D., LL.M. Assistant Professor, Neumann University.

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Presentation on theme: "Best Practices in Bullying Prevention: One Size Does Not Fit All Presented by Kathleen Conn, Ph.D., J.D., LL.M. Assistant Professor, Neumann University."— Presentation transcript:

1 Best Practices in Bullying Prevention: One Size Does Not Fit All Presented by Kathleen Conn, Ph.D., J.D., LL.M. Assistant Professor, Neumann University Adjunct Professor, Widener School of Law

2 The Bottom Line Bullying in schools is worldwide phenomenon Starts early and continues throughout the grades Causes externalizing and internalizing problems, weapon carrying, suicidal ideation and even accomplished suicides

3 Some Kids Can Brush It Off But some can’t But some can’t

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5 The Heartbreak Is Real

6 What Can We Do About It? Schools are adopting bullying prevention programs States are passing anti-bullying statutes Law Schools are holding bullying symposia BUT IT’S NOT WORKING!BUT IT’S NOT WORKING!

7 Olweus as the “Gold Standard”? The Olweus Bullying Prevention Program reduced bullying by up to 50% in schools in Norway and Sweden The Olweus Bullying Prevention Program reduced bullying by up to 50% in schools in Norway and Sweden But both the schools and the cultures are different in the U.S.

8 Results of OBBP in U.S. Mixed Some schools using the Olweus program report reductions in bullying and peer victimization, increases in bystander interventions Some schools using the Olweus program report reductions in bullying and peer victimization, increases in bystander interventions But many do not see any positive results But many do not see any positive results And OBBP is expensive And OBBP is expensive

9 Mixed Results with All Interventions? Ttofi and Farrington (2011) located 622 reports of anti-bullying programs worldwide from Ttofi and Farrington (2011) located 622 reports of anti-bullying programs worldwide from They examined 89 studies reporting results of 53 different programs They examined 89 studies reporting results of 53 different programs They divided programs according to sizes of schools in which they were implemented, and research designs They divided programs according to sizes of schools in which they were implemented, and research designs

10 It’s Not Working… NO EFFECTS in “under-200 students” category, only moderate effects in “over-200s” schools NO EFFECTS in “under-200 students” category, only moderate effects in “over-200s” schools Of the research design with the best results, the age-cohort study design, only one study was in the United States Of the research design with the best results, the age-cohort study design, only one study was in the United States Overall, 17-23% reduction in bullying Overall, 17-23% reduction in bullying Most positive effects were seen in Scandinavian countries Most positive effects were seen in Scandinavian countries

11 Don’t Think Laws Will Help State anti-bullying laws have been passed in 49 states State anti-bullying laws have been passed in 49 states Nieman, Robers & Robers (2012) analyzed results of the effectiveness of state statutes on reducing bullying Nieman, Robers & Robers (2012) analyzed results of the effectiveness of state statutes on reducing bullying Only the most severe statute had a consistent positive effect Only the most severe statute had a consistent positive effect State laws do not provide parents’ access to the courts State laws do not provide parents’ access to the courts

12 Some Laws May Hurt... Does No Child Left Behind incentivize non-reporting of violence in schools? Does No Child Left Behind incentivize non-reporting of violence in schools? Who wants the label of “Persistently Dangerous School”? Who wants the label of “Persistently Dangerous School”? , only 52 schools in the entire nation were classified as persistently dangerous; none in Baltimore, Chicago, Cleveland, Detroit, Los Angeles, Miami, San Diego, or Washington, D.C , only 52 schools in the entire nation were classified as persistently dangerous; none in Baltimore, Chicago, Cleveland, Detroit, Los Angeles, Miami, San Diego, or Washington, D.C.

13 Persistently Dangerous PDE reports that in , only 6 schools in the state were persistently dangerous, all in the Philadelphia School District (PSD) PDE reports that in , only 6 schools in the state were persistently dangerous, all in the Philadelphia School District (PSD) Numbers decreasing Numbers decreasing – In , 19 schools, all in PSD – In , only 12, all in PSD Frankford, Lincoln, Strawberry Mansion High Schools on the list last several years Frankford, Lincoln, Strawberry Mansion High Schools on the list last several years

14 Some Laws May Hurt... Pennsylvania’s Anti-Bullying Law requires schools to adopt anti-bullying policies Pennsylvania’s Anti-Bullying Law requires schools to adopt anti-bullying policies Requires schools to review policies every 3 years and report development and implementation of policies Requires schools to review policies every 3 years and report development and implementation of policies School policies must mandate reporting of bullying to the school, but law does not describe a specific investigation process, nor does it require records kept School policies must mandate reporting of bullying to the school, but law does not describe a specific investigation process, nor does it require records kept

15 What’s Should Schools Do? Administrators need to approach the problem with a cautious eye Administrators need to approach the problem with a cautious eye Do due diligence Do due diligence Get the research studies Get the research studies Read what worked in schools your size, your location, with your population... Read what worked in schools your size, your location, with your population... And with your problem And with your problem

16 What’s the Best Course? Find out what your problem is Find out what your problem is US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention publishes a guide to measuring instruments US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention publishes a guide to measuring instruments Actual surveys are in the guide Actual surveys are in the guide ntion/pdf/bullyCompendiumbk- a.pdf. ntion/pdf/bullyCompendiumbk- a.pdf. ntion/pdf/bullyCompendiumbk- a.pdf ntion/pdf/bullyCompendiumbk- a.pdf

17 What’s the Best Course? Treat the bullying problem as a group phenomenon: the interaction between bullies, victims, bully- victims, and bystanders Treat the bullying problem as a group phenomenon: the interaction between bullies, victims, bully- victims, and bystanders Focus on changing the overall classroom interactions Focus on changing the overall classroom interactions

18 What’s the Best Course? Acknowledge the importance Acknowledge the importance of family environments Ambivalent and less cohesive family relationships, harsh discipline practices, and inconsistent and authoritarian parenting is in the background of many bullies and bully victims Ambivalent and less cohesive family relationships, harsh discipline practices, and inconsistent and authoritarian parenting is in the background of many bullies and bully victims

19 What’s the Best Course? Be prepared to wait for results Be prepared to wait for results Program duration and intensity are important variables Program duration and intensity are important variables Fidelity of implementation must be monitored Fidelity of implementation must be monitored Everyone has to be on the same page, including students Everyone has to be on the same page, including students

20 Every School Is Different One size does not fit all One size does not fit all Some programs work well in some schools Some programs work well in some schools School size, student demographics, community mores, community participation need to be considered School size, student demographics, community mores, community participation need to be considered Administrator and staff “personalities” must influence program choice Administrator and staff “personalities” must influence program choice

21 Visit and Study Successes

22 Kathleen Conn, Ph.D., J.D., LL.M. Thank you for your attention.


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