A survey of bullying problems at each school, increased supervision, schoolwide assemblies, and teacher inservice training to raise the awareness of children and school staff regarding bullying.
The program was found to be highly effective in reducing bullying and other antisocial behavior among students in primary and junior high schools.
Recent research in the United States and abroad has documented that bullying is a common and potentially damaging form of violence among children.
Not only does bullying harm both its intended victims and the perpetrators, it also may affect the climate of schools and, indirectly, the ability of all students to learn to the best of their abilities.
Moreover, students reported significant decreases in rates of truancy, vandalism, and theft and indicated that their school's climate was significantly more positive as a result of the program.
Not surprisingly, those schools that had implemented more of the program's components experienced the most marked changes in behavior. Students who are chronic victims of bullying experience more physical and psychological problems than their peers who are not harassed by other children It is not only victims who are at risk for short- and long-term problems; bullies also are at increased risk for negative outcomes. Hazler, "Bullying: Perceptions of adolescent victims in Midwestern USA," School Psychology International 13:5-16,1992. One researcher found that those elementary students who were bullies attended school less frequently and were more likely to drop out than other students. Implicit in this definition is an imbalance in real or perceived power between the bully and victim. Smith, "A survey of the nature and extent of bullying in junior/middle and secondary schools," Educational Research 35:3-25, 1993. The first and best-known intervention to reduce bullying among school children was launched by Olweus in Norway and Sweden in the early 1980's. Smith, "Types of bullying behavior and their correlates," Aggressive Behavior 9-368, 1994; I. Second, the nature of bullying does not necessarily lend itself to the same interventions that may effectively reduce other types of conflict among children. Robinson, "Association of common health symptoms with bullying in primary school children," British Medical Journal 3-19, 1996. Because it involves harassment by powerful children against children with less power (rather than a conflict between peers of relatively equal status), common conflict resolution strategies such as mediation may not be effective. Its high prevalence among children, its harmful and frequently enduring effects on victims, and its chilling effects on school climate are significant reasons for prevention and early intervention efforts in schools and communities. The phenomenon of bullying deserves special attention by educators, parents, and children concerned with violence prevention for two significant reasons. Approximately one in five children admitted that they had bullied another child with some regularity in the previous 3 months. These figures are consistent with estimates of several other researchers.