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  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

  4. The Heartbreak Is Real

  5. 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!

  6. Olweus as the “Gold Standard”? • 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.

  7. Results of OBBP in U.S. Mixed • 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 • And OBBP is expensive

  8. Mixed Results with All Interventions? • Ttofi and Farrington (2011) located 622 reports of anti-bullying programs worldwide from 1983-2009 • 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

  9. It’s Not Working… • 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 • Overall, 17-23% reduction in bullying • Most positive effects were seen in Scandinavian countries

  10. Don’t Think Laws Will Help • 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 • Only the most severe statute had a consistent positive effect • State laws do not provide parents’ access to the courts

  11. Some Laws May Hurt . . . Does No Child Left Behind incentivize non-reporting of violence in schools? Who wants the label of “Persistently Dangerous School”? 2003-2004, 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.

  12. Persistently Dangerous • PDE reports that in 2012-2013, only 6 schools in the state were persistently dangerous, all in the Philadelphia School District (PSD) • Numbers decreasing • In 2010-2011, 19 schools, all in PSD • In 2011-2012, only 12, all in PSD • Frankford, Lincoln, Strawberry Mansion High Schools on the list last several years

  13. Some Laws May Hurt . . . 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 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

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

  15. What’s the Best Course? • Find out what your problem is • US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention publishes a guide to measuring instruments • Actual surveys are in the guide • http://www.cdc.gov/violenceprevention/pdf/bullyCompendiumbk-a.pdf.

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

  17. What’s the Best Course? • 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

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

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

  20. Visit and Study Successes

  21. Thank you for your attention. Kathleen Conn, Ph.D., J.D., LL.M.connk@neumann.edu