Background

Based on research

The Olweus Bullying Prevention Program (OBPP) has been developed based on scientific studies of bullying and violence. Here are a few of the findings which make up the foundation of the program:

The larger scientific community agrees that

  • bullying is abuse and not a  conflict
  • bullying is when someone is intentionally hurt again and again by some who is/are in a stronger position
  • bullying can have many forms, but verbal face-to-face bullying is the most common
  • those who bully are students with an extra appetite for power or dominance
  • the one who is being bullied is usually an ordinaty student without any unusual characteristics
  • the one who is being bullied is in a weaker position, and sometimes more alone

 Bullying occurs less often in schools where the staff has

  • a shared understanding of what bullying is
  • common limits to unacceptable behavior
  • developed abilities to communicate well with students about unacceptable behavior
  • learned and practiced personal abilities to intervene non-aggressively but effectively
  • good routines for documenting and following up cases and incidents
  • open and frequent contact with parents and homes

Prescribed activities for the school

Based on the findings above and other well established scientific evidence, the OBPP has been developed. You will find descriptions of the specific components of the program here.

Allthough the OBPP is quite well specified, there is room for the individual school or municipality to adapt the content and format of many of the specified activities, providing that these changes do not conflict with the basic principles of the program.

Structured implementation

The whole school must use the OBPP, it will not work well if only some classes or grade levels apply it. Establishing the OBPP takes time. One and a half year has been found to be the optimal time-frame for implementation in most cases. The entire school staff participates in the program.

Survey to measure and monitor

The Olweus Student Survey is taken by the students prior to the start of the implementation, and on a yearly basis thereafter. The survey measures the level of bullying in the school as well as many other qualities of the social relationships between the students and between students and adults in the school and at home.

Quality Assurance

Following the implementation, the school faces major challenges of sustaining best practice in bullying prevention. The Olweus Quality Assurane System (OQAS) was been developed for that purpose. With small but focused investments of time, crucial activities are performed and documented. Certification may be obtained for schools who make it their ambition to comply with the olweus Standard.