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Olweus answers questions, discusses data on bullying

Dr. Dan Olweus, a pioneer and founding father of research on bullying problems, and Dr. Susan P. Limber, national director for the Olweus Bullying Prevention Program (OBPP), and Professor at Clemson University’s Institute on Family & Neighborhood Life, shared important information on what we have learned from the largest national database on bullying among U.S. students.

Visit our Webinars page for an archive of the presentation.

Dan OlweusDr. Olweus has long seen school safety as a fundamental human right. As early as 1981, he proposed enacting a law against bullying in schools so students could be spared the repeated humiliation implied in bullying.  

He and Dr. Limber shared these research results:

Being Bullied

  • 17% of students indicated that they had been bullied with some frequency (2-3 times/month or more within the school semester).
  • There were similar rates for girls (16%) and boys (17%).

Susan LimberBullying Others

  • 10% of students indicated they had bullied others with some frequency (2-3 times/month or more within the semester).  
  • Boys (12%) were more likely than girls (7%) to indicate they had bullied others.

How Long Has the Bullying Lasted?

  • For students who have been bullied, significant numbers have been bullied for long periods of time:  
  • 39% of girls and 46% of bullied boys said they had been bullied for one year or longer.

Bystander Behavior

  • When asked what they feel when they see a student their age being bullied, the vast majority of students (83%) indicated that they feel sorry for the bullied student (90% girls, 75% boys).
  • Students were asked "How do you usually react if you see or learn that a student your age is being bullied?" and had the following responses:
   Girls   Boys
 I have never noticed that students my age have been bullied

 24%

 30%

 I take part in the bullying

 1%

 3%

  I don't do anything but think it is OK 

 1%

 2%

 I just watch what goes on

 9%

 14%

 I don't do anything, but I think I ought to help the bullied students.

  30%

 22%

 I try to help the bullied student

 35%

 29%

OBPP has been proven to significantly reduce student reports of being bullied and bullying others.  Results have also shown 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 OBPP is being used in over 6,000 schools nationwide and 700 individuals are trained to implement the program. There are also 14 states including New York and New Jersey that have a statewide partnership in place with OBPP. Training is developed and conducted by the Institute for Family and Neighborhood Life at Clemson University, Clemson, S.C.

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