By Dr. Nicole Yetter
The goal of the Olweus Bullying Prevention program is to reduce existing bullying problems and to prevent the development of new ones (Olweus, 1993). It operates under the philosophy of a whole-school approach where everyone has the right to feel safe and plays a crucial role in creating that atmosphere. This whole-school approach includes the students, school personnel, and parents.
Dr. Dan Olweus believes that children have the fundamental right to feel safe at school in an environment free of intimidation and humiliation (Olweus, 2001). He has surveyed and studied over 30,000 students in the last 30 years. A large-scale study found that within the first two years implementing the Olweus Bullying Prevention Program, schools had a 50% reduction of bullying problems (Olweus, 2001). It was also shown to reduce other antisocial behaviors, truancy, and vandalism. In conjunction with the reduction of negative behaviors, there were numerous positive improvements in the overall classroom and school climate (Olweus, 1993):
1. There was a clear reduction of antisocial behaviors, such as, fighting, substance abuse, vandalism, and theft.
2. Improvement in social relationships, decrease in discipline, and positive attitude toward schoolwork.
3. Increase in overall student satisfaction.
These results can be yielded by a school with training all involved staff, students, and administrators, offering workshops for families, implementing classroom meetings, and employing an anonymous reporting solution, such as the CyberBully Hotline.
Where the CyberBully Hotline fits in with OBPP. One of the major components of the OBPP is classroom meetings. Classroom meetings are an avenue fashioned by the classroom teacher to produce a safe and respectful learning environment. Creating this environment of mutual respect amongst the students is essential to developing a positive classroom community. Wood (1992) believes that developing this type of classroom community also affords the students the opportunity to live their lives as productive citizens in the outside world.
Classroom meetings are also a wonderful, safe avenue to introduce and promote the Cyberbully Hotline. Research has shown that students do not report bullying and harassment due to fear of intimation. In fact, the National Education Association reports that over 160,000 students do not attend school each day out of fear of being bullied or harassed (Borba, 2005). Unfortunately, bullying has the potential to create memories that can last throughout one's lifetime. Adults have reported that even after years or even decades have gone by since the bullying occurred, just hearing the name of the student that tormented them can cause them pain (Kowalski, Limber, & Agatston, 2008).
The CyberBully Hotline provides the students with a necessary outlet where they can voice their concerns and secure the help they need. All students have the fundamental right to be educated in a safe and respectful learning environment which will generate fond memories that will last a lifetime.