Olweus Bullying Prevention Program
All children have a right to feel safe in school. Every student should feel like there is at least one adult in school that they can turn to in a time of need. More than any other place in the community, schools should provide a safe haven for all students. Sadly, this is not our current reality. (Governor Tom Vilsack)
Bullying among children is intentional, aggressive behavior that involves an imbalance of power or strength. A child who is being bullied has a hard time defending him/herself. Usually, bullying is repeated over time and can take many forms, such as hitting or punching (physical bullying); teasing or name calling (verbal bullying); intimidation using gestures or social exclusion (nonverbal bullying or emotional bullying); and sending insulting messages by phone, computer e-mail or other electronic means (cyber-bullying).
Bullying can have serious consequences. Children and youth who are bullied are more likely than other children to:
- Be depressed, lonely, anxious or fearful;
- Have low self-esteem;
- Be absent from school or experience difficulties with school work completion;
- Feel sick; and
- Think about suicide.
In 2005, the Iowa Department of Education provided training for AEA staff throughout the state of Iowa in the internationally recognized and research based Olweus Bullying Prevention Program. Certified trainers are available to train school or district committees on all aspects of bullying prevention, including: conducting and analyzing the results of the Olweus Bully and/or Victim Questionnaire to determine the full extent of bullying issues; establishing specific school rules, examining policies and procedures; conducting classroom meetings; and engaging parents and communities in prevention activities. At the present time, Mississippi Bend Area Education Agency has trained over twenty Area 9 schools and/or districts to implement the program. The most recent feedback from school district teachers and administrators has been very positive and they have found the program to be effective in improving school learning climates for students.