• Bullying Prevention

    District 65 adopted the Olweus Bullying Prevention Program (OBPP) to address past bullying incidents and to prevent future incidents from occurring. In this program, we were able to define bullying and to speak on different ways to address bullying behaviors. Bullying must have all three characteristics to be considered bullying according to the OBPP:

    • An intentional negative act,
    • repeated behavior,
    • and a power imbalance.

    The Olweus Bullying Prevention Program is the most researched and best-known bullying prevention program available today. With over thirty-five years of research and successful implementation all over the world, OBPP is a whole-school program that has been proven to prevent or reduce bullying throughout a school setting. OBPP is used at school, classroom, and individual levels and includes methods to reach out to parents and the community for involvement and support. School administrators, teachers, and other staff are primarily responsible for introducing and implementing the program. These efforts are designed to improve peer relations and make the school a safer and more positive place for students to learn and develop.

    Bullying Is an Intentional, Negative Act 

    Bullying is a negative act when someone intentionally inflicts injury or discomfort upon another person. The student or students who bully mean to harm another student in some way. This could be through physical actions, through words, or indirectly, for example, by intentionally excluding the student from a group or activity. It is important to realize that a lot of bullying occurs without any apparent provocation on the part of the bullied student. Rather, students who bully usually take the initiative (use proactive aggression) and seek out students they perceive as weaker. Although students who bully others may vary in their awareness of how the targeted student perceives their actions, most or all of them likely realize that their behavior is at least somewhat painful or unpleasant.

    Bullying Is Usually Repeated Behavior 

    Although bullying is defined as usually being carried out “repeatedly and over time,” it would be wrong to exclude from the definition serious hurtful behavior that happens only once. The intent in focusing on repeated acts is to exclude non serious actions that are directed at a student one time. Students who are bullied may also be embarrassed to tell an adult, or they may feel they won’t get the help they need if they do report the bullying.  While it is essential to understand that bullying happens repeatedly over time, it is not wise (and may even be dangerous) to wait for a pattern to clearly emerge before intervening. Members of our community are asked to respond anytime they observe or become aware of bullying or other related negative behaviors in our school buildings and within our community. 

    Bullying Involves a Power Imbalance 

    In a bullying situation or relationship, the student who is exposed to the negative actions has difficulty defending themselves and is somewhat helpless against the student or students who are enacting the bullying. The actual or perceived imbalance in power or strength may come about in several different ways. The student who is being bullied may actually be physically weaker or may simply perceive themselves as physically or emotionally weaker than the students who are bullying. Or there may be a difference in numbers, with several students ganging up on a single student. A somewhat different kind of imbalance may happen when the “source” of the negative actions is difficult to identify or confront, as in social exclusion from the group, hurtful gossip that happens behind the student’s back, or when a student is being sent anonymous mean notes.

    Please review the Q&A section of our website to review common questions related to bullying and District 65’s response to bullying behaviors