Pennsylvania: Bullying prevention netted positive change

PR Newswire
PITTSBURGH, Sept. 16 /PRNewswire/ — Preliminary findings of a statewide study on bullying prevention programs demonstrate significant decreases in reports of students being bullied and increased perceptions among students about the importance of positive bystander behavior, an important factor in reducing bullying. The findings were announced today by the Highmark Foundation, through its Highmark Healthy High 5 initiative, and its partners at the Pennsylvania Department of Education, Windber Research Institute and the Center for Safe Schools.

“Pennsylvania is leading the way when it comes to implementing successful bullying prevention programs in our schools,” said Dr. Gerald Zahorchak, Pennsylvania’s secretary of education. “Pennsylvania is being viewed as a national model for creating changes in school culture thanks to the partnerships that have been developed between public and private organizations in our schools.”

The study shows that following a school’s implementation of the Olweus Bullying Prevention Program for at least a 12-month period, positive effects of the program, including reducing bullying behaviors and increases in perceived school climate and culture, were realized. Data from this Pennsylvania study also affirms earlier research conducted in Norway showing that an effective, evidence-based approach can reduce bullying behavior and improve school climate.

“During the past several years, the Highmark Foundation has worked with a number of community partners to expand and enhance Pennsylvania’s bullying prevention programs, creating the largest and most comprehensive effort to be implemented and studied to date,” said Michael G. Warfel, vice president of government affairs at Highmark. “Through this study, more than 1 million children have been evaluated – more than any other previous attempt worldwide to determine the outcomes of this bullying prevention and health promotion initiative.”

Through the Highmark Healthy High 5 HALT! – A bullying prevention program and PA CARES (Creating an Atmosphere of Respect and Environment for Success) programs, more than 200 elementary, middle and high schools have been given the tools and resources to implement the Olweus Bullying Prevention Program, a comprehensive program designed to reduce and prevent bullying problems among school children and to improve peer relations at school. Full story.

Read a 2003 Report on Effectiveness on Bullying Prevention: Bullying Prevention is Crime Prevention


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