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Parents Get an Education
At Bullying Themed University in Dandridge, Tennessee
Jefferson County Schools
Jefferson County is a small community of approximately 51,000 with a school system that includes only one high school, and ten others ranging in size and grade level from pre-K to eighth grade. The Olweus Bullying Prevention Program (Olweus) was first implemented in some schools in the summer of 2010 followed by further development in 2011. Today, the system enjoys full implementation in all ten of the elementary to middle grade facilities.
Mandy Schneitman, Director of Student Support Services for Jefferson County has expressed her appreciation for the Olweus program. She says “Olweus provides the tools we need to provide a framework for the schools, which are then able to add some of their own creative elements that enhance their individual school cultures and climates.”
Some of the positive results Schneitman has noted are the increase in responsiveness and communication from students who observe bullying behavior (bystanders) and that overall empathy from the student body has increased. Teacher interventions and one-on-one discussions have also increased, and in general there has been a reduction in bullying behavior.
From chili suppers to poster contests to custom designed t-shirts, Jefferson County has maximized the “fun” elements of incorporating the Olweus program into the lives of their students and communities. One of the most innovative ideas is the Bullying Prevention University for parents. In preparation for parent kick-off, the school comes together to develop different “classes” parents can take during the evening. Some of these include original music and songs performed by the kids, poster design, skits, and more. Upon successful completion of three classes, parents “graduate”.
Angela Davis, a guidance counselor at Rush Strong School (pre-K to eighth grade) says that one of her challenges has been convincing administrators and parents alike that Olweus is not “just another program” that is introduced and then fades into the distance after some time passes. Since the excitement of the kick-off in 2010 when Rush Strong first implemented Olweus, Davis has worked with her school and its Bullying Prevention Committee to have an annual bullying prevention week. During this special week every class in the school creates and performs its own anti-bullying themed presentation; parents are invited for food and entertainment; and the importance of treating one another with kindness and respect is reinforced.
The Olweus Bullying Prevention Program has been proven to reduce up to 50 percent of student reports of being bullied and bullying others. Research has also found marked reductions in student reports of general antisocial behavior such as vandalism, fighting, theft and truancy; and clear improvements in the classroom social climate, as reflected in students’ reports of improved order and discipline, more positive social relationships, and more positive attitudes toward schoolwork and school.
Today Olweus is being used in over 6,000 schools nationwide and over 1,000 individuals are trained to implement the program. There are also 14 states including Tennessee and New Jersey that have a statewide partnership in place with Hazelden Publishing, the home of the Olweus Bullying Prevention Program.
The Minnesota Bullying Prevention Initiative is a partnership of the
Minnesota Elementary School Principals’ Association, the National Association
of Elementary School Principals, and Hazelden.
"...every class in the school creates and performs its own anti-bullying
themed presentation; parents are invited for food and entertainment; and
the importance of treating one another with kindness and respect is
Understanding Bullying Prevention
can we effectively and compassionately address the needs of children
who are being bullied, children who are
bullying, children who are bystanders, and the adults around them?
is from a series of articles by Hazelden -- examining the issue of
prevention and offering strong, workable solutions.