Bullying Prevention (School-based)

School-based bullying prevention programs include strategies which may be implemented by school or non-school personnel to reduce and prevent incidents of bullying in a school setting. The term bullying generally refers to aggressive behavior intended to harm or disturb another person that occurs repeatedly over time and is directed toward someone with less power or social status (Underwood & Rosen, 2011). While some acts of bullying are physical, others are relational – nonphysical aggression designed to harm another’s social standing or reputation, such as repeated exclusion from a group, spreading rumors about someone, or teasing (Leff et al., 2010). The term ‘peer victimization’ relates to being bullied by others. Because many bullies are themselves victims, and vice-versa, a dual focus on bullying and victimization is needed. Moreover, because bullying behaviors can begin as young as preschool, school-based programs may be implemented from preschool and continue through high school.

A number of promising and effective school-based programs have been developed (Farrington & Ttofi, 2009; Leff et al., 2010; Vreeman & Carroll, 2008). Multi-systemic programs that include parents, teachers, schools, children, bystanders and use a whole-school approach are particularly effective (Ryan & Smith, 2009). In addition to school-based programs, community-based strategies can and should be implemented so that students feel safe not only in their schools but in their communities (U.S. Department of Education, 1998). 

Questions your program should answer:

  1. To What Extent Do Participants Experience Bullying?
  2. To What Extent Are You Delivering Services as Intended?
  3. To What Extent Does the Program Offer a Positive Developmental Setting?
  4. To What Extent Are You Using Effective or Promising Practices?
  5. To What Extent Are Youth Participating in Services?

By ChildTrends 


Sources Cited

Bradshaw, C.P., & Waasdorp, T.E. (2011, March). Effective strategies in combating bullying. Paper presented at the White House Conference on Bullying Prevention, Washington, DC.

Bullying Prevention Institute (2008). Building a safe classroom environment and other best practices for bullying prevention. Center City, MN: Hazelden Foundation. Retrieved on 8/23/11. 

Farrington, D. & Ttofi, M.M. (2009). School-based programs to reduce bullying and victimization. Campbell Systematic Reviews. 2009:6.

Leff, S. S., Waasdorp, T. E., & Crick, N. R. (2010). A review of existing relational aggression programs: Strengths, limitations, and future directions.  School Psychology Review, 39, 508-535. 

Olweus, D. (2005). A useful evaluation design and effects of the Olweus Bullying Prevention Program. Psychology, Crime & Law, 11, 389-402. doi:10.1080/10683160500255471

Ryan, W., & Smith, J. (2009). Anti-bullying programs in schools: How effective are evaluation practices? Prevention Science, 10, 248-259. doi:10.1007/s11121-009-0128-y

Underwood, M.K. & Rosen, L.  (2011). Gender and bullying:  Moving beyond mean differences to consider conceptions of bullying, processes by which bullying unfolds, and cyber bullying.  In D. Espelage & s. Sweaer (Eds.), Bullying in North American Schools, 2nd edition.  New York: Routledge.

U.S. Department of Education. (1998). Preventing bullying: A manual for schools and Communities. Washington, DC: author. 

Vreeman, R.C. & Carroll, A.E. (2007). A systematic review of school-based interventions to prevent bullying. Archives of Pediatric and Adolescent Medicine, 161, 78-88. doi:10.1001/archpedi.161.1.78