By Michael Staton
Photography by Christmas City Studio and Craig Mahaffey ’98
Evidence-based approach to bullying prevention shows promising results in multi-year U.S. study
Orefield Middle School in Pennsylvania adds a new mural to a wall in the school each year. The visual theme changes, but the featured words — respect, compassion, courage, welcoming — largely stay the same.
Whether it’s Scrabble-themed or made up of student signatures, the wall showcases concepts and virtues that can have a marked effect on bullying behavior in schools.
Administrators and teachers know that communicating these concepts should not stop at displaying the desired behavior on a wall. According to Matthew Carlson, school psychologist at Orefield, it takes a whole-school approach that addresses both school culture and bullying behavior.
This evidence-backed approach to combat bullying is pulled directly from the playbook Carlson studied when he trained under Clemson faculty involved with the Olweus Bullying Prevention Program, a comprehensive K-12 program that started in Norway.
Clemson faculty and the Olweus program have enjoyed a longstanding research relationship, and they recently concluded a major study of bullying prevention efforts in U.S. schools. Evaluating nearly 70,000 students across 210 elementary, middle and high schools in Pennsylvania over two years, the study revealed significant, sustained positive impacts.
Thank you Clemson. As a graduate of CLEMSON and now becoming a before school and after school coordinator of a modestly large charter school district, 3 schools and 1500 students, each of the bullying areas are of concern. I would love to follow this discussion and maybe add any lessons learned from my position.
Thank you, Craig. We would love to be in touch to learn more about hour lessons learned through your work.
So proud of Clemson for addressing this problem. David G. Moore, Class of 1963.
This is an amazing program. Has there been thought of moving it to a post secondary or workplace level, particularly in fields known for bullying problems? Nursing and Medicine would be good testing grounds especially with provider shortages already, and only set to get worse. This type of program could be of great benefit if used before Nurses and Doctors enter the field. It is badly needed!
Thank you for your dedication to this problem in our schools! Please let us know if we can help! Our company, Rhodes Branding, is a marketing and branding agency for K-12 schools and this falls right into our wheelhouse.
All the best,
Austin Rhodes, Class of 2012