Date of Award

8-2009

Degree Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Science in Education (MSEd)

Department

Education and Human Development

Abstract

Adolescence is characterized as a time of great personal upheaval wherein children experience significant physical, emotional, and social changes. As they begin to seek peer approval or try to resist peer rejection, many adolescents will do almost anything to fit in with a group, even if that means remaining silent as their peers are bullied. This research project discusses the ongoing battle to reclaim the academic landscape of American schools from various types of bullying behaviors by the use of school-wide, comprehensive anti-bullying initiatives. It highlights the impact a national anti-bullying program can have on the school environment and student awareness. Educating students on strategies that include definition of bullying behavior, discussion and understanding of behavioral expectations, and education on effective intervention in bullying situations are all part of the Olweus Bully Prevention Program (OBPP); which research confirms gains positive outcomes for students and, by extension, their school community. The goals of the program are to reduce bullying behaviors, increase students' awareness of bullying, and create an empathetic community of tolerant and respectful learners. The OBPP operates at four levels: individual, classroom, school, and community.

This study was conducted in a rural middle school with an ethnically diverse school population. Data gathered from pre and post-test questionnaires were used to measure the levels of reported bullying behaviors in the school. Comparative analysis of the results from each questionnaire was used to determine if the Olweus Bully Prevention Program (OBPP) was successfully reducing reported bullying incidents after one year of treatment. To evaluate the students' perceptions of the middle school's climate and environment, interviews were employed for each of three focus groups, one per grade level. The focus groups offered students the opportunity to share and discuss their feelings about the bullying situation in the school and enabled the researcher to observe their knowledge and understanding of the issues.

The conclusions reached by this study of the Olweus Bully Prevention Program in a middle school setting found a raised awareness and sensitivity to bullying behaviors.

Comments

Abstract created by repository to aid in discoverability.

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