Schools across the U.S. frequently confront the issue of bullying among their student population. However, identifying the nature of a specific bullying problem (including its symptoms and causes) in a given school—and implementing solutions that work—is complicated. While research on evidence-based programs is helpful in guiding school personnel toward solutions that have been shown to work in the past, it sheds little light on how those programs or practices were implemented in schools or on the institutional processes, faculty and student body characteristics that made them work.
The new School-based Bullying Prevention I-Guide (short for implementation Guide) from the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention aims to fill that gap. The newest feature of OJJDP’s Model Programs Guide website, the I-Guide analyzes research and evaluation to identify how bullying prevention programs have been implemented in schools. It then presents the common features of how the schools put these programs into practice and maps out 10 steps that other schools can follow. They are:
- Establishing clear program goals;
- Conducting a needs assessment;
- Doing supportive research;
- Getting stakeholder buy-in;
- Identifying specific jurisdictional issues;
- Procuring funding;
- Providing program training;
- Addressing adaptation;
- Handling unanticipated problems or setbacks; and
- Ensuring long-term sustainability.
The I-Guide discusses how to assess or understand school-based bullying through various perspectives and surveys, and recommends ways to apply that information to implement the right program for a particular school. While OJJDP’s Model Programs Guide has long provided practitioners with a database of evidence-based programs and practices, the new I-Guide shares the common features of how those programs and practices have been started, implemented, adopted and sustained in schools or communities so that others can apply that knowledge.
The I-Guide recognizes the importance of knowing your community’s needs so you can choose the program that will work best for your school. Through this I-Guide, you can learn how to successfully integrate programs and practices after assessing the people, policies, environment and community structures that have an impact on your school.
To learn more about how to implement a bullying prevention program in school, visit our website: https://www.ojjdp.gov/mpg-iguides/topics/bullying/.