Removing the Blindfold: The effectiveness of school based anti- bullying programs in elementary


There have been numerous studies on bullying in an educational setting.  The bullying definition is arguable and is viewed as a social problem(Langdon& Preble, 2008). In society, we place labels on people to identify them.  We look at people that learn at a slower pace as having a learning disability.  However, we look at people who learn things more swiftly like reading and math as gifted (Levinson, Levinson &Martin, 2005).  Bullying is often looked upon as an aggression that derives from the position of power (Craig &Pepler, 2007).    Bullies are looked upon as having demonstrating power over the people they are dominating.They are perceived as having dominance over their victims.  The bully who has an advantage of physical stature, or social status, andwill always have a perceived advantage which will leave the person bullied feeling vulnerable (2007).Today, approximately 30% of students report being bullied by their peers (Carlyle &Steinman, 2007).According to the U.S. Department of Justice, one out of every four children will be bullied by a peer in school this month (Levinson, Levinson &Martin, 2005.).

Statement of Problem

Georgia schools are experiencing problems with bullying.  Specifically, student aggression and psychological dominance over students is a serious problem in schools.  In March, 2011, in a large county in the state of Georgia a young man named Jaheem Bermudez committed suicide after being bullied at school.  The young man was continuouslyvictimized and ridiculed.   He was unable to cope with the bullying and after continual reporting of the incidents byhimand hismother.  Jaheim ultimately committed suicide after confiding to his friends that he no longer could bear constant bullying (Winfrey, 2009).Currently, many states have updated their bullying laws andreport that they have proactive bullying programs. Under the new Georgia policy, bullying can be anything from unwanted taunting to cyber-bullying through social networking websites, or text messages. Students charged with bullying must get age-appropriate discipline or counseling, and their victims must also get help (Turner, 2011).However, bullying is a national problem that could have negative effects on schools, as well as, children for the rest of their lives.   Bullying impacts elementary boys and girls because it can have an effect on them academically and socially.  There are many attributes that contribute to the problem of bullying.  Studies have shown that in Scandinavian countries there are strong relations between bullying, and criminal troubles (Turner, 2011).   Bullies studied in Scandinavian countries maintain their behavior into adulthood, and studies have shown that they do not have healthy relationships (2011).









 Purpose of Study


The purpose of this quantitative survey study is intended to study the connection between the effectiveness of the anti-bullying program and if it reduces the prevalence of bullying at ABC Elementary School.  The focus will be on the bullying program with critical issues that influence or contribute to the characteristics, attitude, and behavior to one being a bully as well as, the effectiveness of the bullying program put in place. There are a large number of students being.  According to Fontanini&Skiba(2000), “in the United States approximately 20% of students report having being bullied”(p.3).  The researcher will rate the bullying program and measure the effectiveness of it.  Teachers and administrators, which are affiliated with the program located at the ABC Elementary School, will be the target of this research.

This study is bound to the ABC Elementary School, which is located in an urban area in Georgia for one half of a school year, acquiring the data.

                                                             Research Questions

  1. Will an anti-bullying program reduce the occurrence of bullying in Elementary schools?
  2. What components of the anti-bullying program are effective?
  3. Will the program be more effective in middle or high school?

Significance of Study

Bullying has been proven to negatively affect a healthy development in children in regards to their capability to function on a social basis and lead to consequences that occur later in life, including incarceration and domestic violence (Hong, 2009).  Although violence in schools is growing on the rise, there has not been a national outcry to investigate a government supported program to address bullying behavior in schools.  Until such a time when there is a corresponding, nationally based effort, studies such as the one contained in this paper reflect an ongoing effort to combat bullying with elementary schoolstudents, and school staff working together to identify solutions to the problem of bullying in schools.   More recently, Dr. Olweus has worked together with Dr. Limber, a researcher at Clemson University. Together they have researched the usefulness of Olweus Bullying Prevention Program (OBPP) pertaining to its’ significance within the context of the United States. However, despite their body of research, there is inadequate data available demonstrating whether their large scale findings are significant or meaningful to smaller populations or other regions of the United States. In a recent study Olweus and Limber studied the influence and usefulness of the OBPP model within the states of South Carolina, Philadelphia, California and Washington (Olweus& Limber,2010).

Since Georgia has not participated in the OBPP evidence-based trials or other research, the Georgia Department of Education (GADOE) would like to know more of an understanding of bullying trends pertaining to Georgia student populations. Particularly,schools that would like to better understand students’ readiness to intervene in bullying situations and how to inspire safe levels of involvement. As a way to gain knowledge into students’ willingness to intercede, and bullying in Georgia schools analyses of the relatively recently conducted Georgia Student Health Survey II (GSHS 2006) can answer many of the important but unaddressed questions.


Literature Review

Currently, bullies have been a concern because they exhibit many risk factors.  According to Olweus& Limber (2010) bullies suffer from a multitude of risk factors such as depression, anxiety, self-esteem, social isolation and psychosocial problems.   Though, some researchers disagree with the evidence of self-esteemlevels of bullies. Many researchers back the claims that bullies do in fact have low self-esteem, and they bully to help make themselves feel better.  Countless bully victims are injeopardy for the subsequent behaviors: mental health concerns, health problems, depression, anxiety, poor self-esteem, headaches, stomach aches and suicidal ideation (Olweus& Limber, 2010).   Craig &Pepler (2003) found children to be more at-risk if they experienced more intense bullying which resulted in more intense victimization.  Age also seems to be a possibility influence. Students are greatest at- risk during their adolescent years in middle school to be bullied (Carlyle & Steinman, 2007). This period may signify when students are most susceptible and inclined to peer pressure and abuse.While anti- bullying legislation has been endorsed in the form of unfunded state mandates, bullying still exists in today’s educational institutions.  Such laws have not resolvedthe problem, they have been the drive for school districts to be conscious of it, and in many cases, improve and implement programs to remove it (Espelage& Swearer, 2003). Many anti-bullying programs have had limited success;however, there is no “one size fits all”anti-bullying program (Durlak et al., 2011). Intrinsically, each school region needs adescriptive analysis in order to determine several factors:  specific problems,degree of such problems, their degree and distribution across school houses, the presence of interventions, and the absence of means to address the concerns effectively.






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