MESPA is partnering with the Hazelden Foundation, headquartered in Center City, Minnesota, in a comprehensive statewide effort called the MESPA Minnesota Bullying Prevention Initiative.
Bullying is a serious issue that affects students’ health, the school climate, academic achievement, and school liability. According to the 2007 Minnesota Student Survey, 29 percent of students reported they had been bullied once a week or more often, and 55 percent of sixth grade students reported having been teased or excluded by others in the past month. In the 2006-2007 school year, there were 857 incidents of bullying resulting in out-of-school suspension or expulsion.
The Hazelden Foundation is the leading publisher of evidence-based prevention programs and the exclusive publisher of the Olweus® Bullying Prevention Program (OBPP), the most researched and best-known program of its kind. With over thirty-five years of research and successful implementation all over the world, OBPP is a whole school program that has been proven to prevent or reduce bullying throughout a school setting. Many schools that have used the program have seen reductions in bullying behavior by 50 percent or more.
MESPA will work with Hazelden to educate schools about the serious issue of bullying and other related violence issues, and is the central source in the state of Minnesota for the Olweus Bullying Prevention Program and Hazelden’s other violence prevention programs.