Hazelden Publishing Releases Annual OLWEUS Bullying Status Report Prevalence of Bullying in U.S. Schools Remains a Concern

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Over the past fifteen years state congressional leaders have worked to pass legislation requiring schools to enact policies and procedures aimed at reducing bullying behavior among their student populations. Data in a new annual report show that even though 50 states have enacted legislation, rates of bullying among children and youth are still too high.

Despite increased awareness and prevention work being done, for schools and districts who have not implemented school-wide prevention programs, the prevalence of bullying is still one of the most pressing issues facing our youth.

Over the past fifteen years state congressional leaders have worked to pass legislation requiring schools to enact policies and procedures aimed at reducing bullying behavior among their student populations. As of spring 2015, all 50 states have completed this large task however the job is far from finished. Data in a new annual OLWEUS Bullying Status Report issued by Hazelden Publishing, part of the Hazelden Betty Ford Foundation, in partnership with Clemson University, and Professional Data Analysts, Inc., show that rates of bullying among children and youth are still too high.

On October 15, 2015 Hazelden Publishing and Clemson University will host a webinar to present findings from this year’s status report. Survey responses were collected and analyzed from a sample of 20,000 students in grades 3-12 across the United States who completed the OLWEUS Bullying Questionnaire (OBQ) prior to implementing the OLWEUS Bullying Prevention Program (OBPP) during the 2013-2014 school year. The OBQ is the largest database of information on bullying rates, having surveyed more than three million students.

Dr. Susan P. Limber, Professor at Clemson University in the Institute on Family & Neighborhood Life, will present this year’s findings and their implications for today’s educators as well as field questions from the audience.

“What is unique about our large-scale study is the wide range of ages we were able to survey, 3rd-12th graders,” Limber says, “and also the breadth of questions that we were able to ask. Our data highlight the seriousness of bullying from the perspectives of students, but they also dispel some common myths about bullying, which are critical for educators and community members to understand if we are to effectively address bullying.”

The results demonstrate that despite increased awareness and prevention work being done, for schools and districts who have not implemented school-wide prevention programs, the prevalence of bullying is still one of the most pressing issues facing our youth.

  •     Bullying rates remain high: Nearly 1 in 5 students are involved in bullying at school

o    14% of students were bullied with regularity (2-3 times a month or more often)
o    5% of students bullied others regularly
o    17% of all students were involved in bullying, either as a student who was bullied, one who bullied others, or both vs. 18% in the prior year

  •     For many students, bullying is chronic: 39% of students, who were bullied, indicated the bullying lasted for one year or longer
  •     Bullying is pervasive: On average, students report being bullied in three different ways, with the most often cited forms of bullying:

o    Being called mean names (verbal)
o    Having false rumors spread about them (rumors)
o    Being left out on purpose (exclusion)

  •     Bullying is all inclusive: Individuals affected by bullying include all ethnicity, gender, grade and socioeconomic status, whether they live in urban, suburban or rural communities
  •     Bullying has serious effects on children and youth but often isn’t reported: The percentage of bullied students who tell no one increases substantially with age

o    25% of boys and 18% of girls in 3rd – 5th grade tell no one they are being bullied
o    34% of boys and 29% of girls in 6th – 8th grade tell no one they are being bullied
o    38% of boys and 34% of girls in 9th – 12th grade tell no one they are being bullied

To attend the live webinar:
Bullying in U.S. Schools: What Students Need You to Know
October 15, 2015
1:00 p.m. CDT
Registration Link: http://bit.ly/1j0LSVf

OBPP has been proven to significantly reduce bullying (as measured by students’ reports of being bullied and bullying others). Results have also shown reductions in student reports of general antisocial behavior such as vandalism, fighting, theft and truancy; and 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.

OBPP has been used in more than a dozen countries by millions of students worldwide, receiving high accolades in the United States and abroad. In the U.S. OBPP is being used in more than 6,000 schools nationwide. There are 1,000 active OBPP trainer/consultants, and 23 states have OBPP state leaders in place.

About The Hazelden Betty Ford Foundation
The Hazelden Betty Ford Foundation helps people reclaim their lives from the disease of addiction. It is the nation’s largest nonprofit treatment provider, with a legacy that began in 1949 and includes the 1982 founding of the Betty Ford Center. With 15 sites in California, Minnesota, Oregon, Illinois, New York, Florida, Massachusetts, Colorado and Texas, the Foundation offers recovery solutions nationwide and across the entire continuum of care for youth and adults. It includes the largest recovery publishing house in the country, a fully-accredited graduate school of addiction studies, an addiction research center, an education arm for medical professionals and a unique children's program, and is the nation’s leader in advocacy and policy for treatment and recovery. Learn more at http://www.hazeldenbettyford.org.

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Claire McKinney
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