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The Olweus Bullying Prevention Program is showing positive results in numerous U.S. schools, saving thousands of students from bullying over two years, a new study shows.

According to The Newsstand, from South Carolina’s Clemson University:

Researchers at Clemson University and the University of Bergen in Norway evaluated nearly 70,000 students across 210 elementary, middle and high schools in Pennsylvania over two years. A companion analysis assessed year-to-year changes in a subset of 95 schools over three years. The research documented clear reductions in student reports of being bullied and bullying others. Overall, the results were stronger the longer the program was in place.

Dan Olweus, lead author of the study and founder of the Olweus Bullying Prevention Program, contends the results show “bullying prevention efforts can positively affect behaviors and perceptions of students of all ages.” “Given the sacristy of positive results from anti-bullying programs in the U.S., this new study is a breakthrough.”

The Olweus Bullying Prevention Program publishes its materials through Hazelden Publishing, part of the Hazelden Betty Ford Foundation.

The foundation’s director for youth services, Joseph Lee, pointed out that the promising results from the program come at a crucial time.

“In an era of heightened concerns about adolescent suicide, depression and substance use, addressing bullying is a societal imperative,” Lee told The Newsstand.

Olweus agrees.

“All too many young people have their lives more or less ruined by peer bullying during school years,” he said. “It is rewarding to see that the program has provided a large number of bullied students safer and better lives and that schools can learn new and more effective ways of preventing these problems.”

James Davison Hunter, founder of the Institute for Advanced Studies in Culture at the University of Virginia, discussed the importance of addressing the specifics of each school’s moral ecology to create personalized solutions to bullying.

“We can only care for the young in their particularity,” Hunter wrote in “The Content of Their Character,” an analysis of character education programs in a wide variety of schools. “If we are not attentive to and understanding of these contexts, we are not caring for real, live human beings, but rather abstractions that actually don’t exist at all.”

The Olweus Bullying Prevention Program website offers numerous tools for educators to assess and address bullying at the school, classroom, individual and community levels, as well as research, testimonials and other resources.

“The Olweus Bullying Prevention Program is designed for students in elementary, middle, and junior high levels (students ages five to fifteen years old). Research has shown that OBPP is also effective in high schools, with some program adaptation,” according to the site.

“All students participate in some aspects of the program, while students identified as bullying others, or as targets of bullying, receive additional individualized interventions.”

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