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Empowering Schools to Change Behavior and Attitudes


Findings and conclusions reported in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the official position or policies of the U.S. Department of Justice.

As we have come to recognize bullying as a significant problem within our school systems, a number of programs have been developed to reduce its prevalence and impacts. Evaluating the effectiveness of those programs is critical to ensure school districts are implementing evidence-based programs.

On December 3, 2019, the National Institute of Justice (NIJ) and the Federal Partners in Bullying Prevention co-sponsored a webinar, Applying the Latest Research to Prevent Bullying: Empowering Schools to Change Behavior and Attitudes, to present some of the latest research findings to bullying prevention stakeholders. The webinar was structured to provide stakeholders with actionable information to improve anti-bullying approaches at school.

Webinar attendees had an opportunity to hear from two researchers examining critical concerns pertaining to bullying at school:

  1. Helping teachers respond to classroom bullying.
  2. Giving students tools to counter bullying when they see it.

The researchers were: Dr. Tracy Waasdorp of the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia, Center for the Study and Prevention of Violence, and Dr. Amanda Nickerson of the University at Buffalo, Alberti Center for Bullying Abuse Prevention.

Dr. Waasdorp's research examined the effectiveness of the Bullying Classroom Check-Up (BCCU) program in helping teachers respond to classroom bullying. BCCU uses a mixed-reality simulator to train teachers on how to respond to bullying. Initial results of the randomized controlled trial indicated that BCCU successfully trained teachers in how to respond to classroom bullying without placing a great burden on their time. However, according to a report submitted to NIJ, these favorable results were not fully sustained over the two-year follow-up period.

Dr. Nickerson's research involved an evaluation of the effectiveness of the Bully Proofing Your School program, which focuses on giving students tools to counter bullying by providing bystander intervention training. Preliminary results of the evaluation indicated that students participating in this program report greater knowledge and willingness to intervene in bullying when they see it.

Following these two presentations, attendees engaged in a question and answer discussion with the researchers as they considered specific applications of these concepts in their schools.

View a recording of the webinar

Download the presentation