OLWEUS Bullying Prevention

Olweus Bullying Prevention in WV

Apr 22, 2024 | News

Bullying is a serious concern in West Virginia, and some schools are using evidence-based programs to reduce occurrences of bullying behavior. In 2021, over 22% of West Virginia’s high school students reported they had been bullied at school in the previous 12 months, earning the state the undesirable #1 ranking in the United States.1 More than 20% experienced electronic or cyberbullying during the same time frame, the second highest in the nation. 2 In response, the WV Department of Human Services’ Bureau for Behavioral Health (WVBBH) funded an initiative via legislative funding in 2022 to make the Olweus Bullying Prevention Program available to schools in the state to address the issue.

What is the Olweus Bullying Prevention Program?

The Olweus Bullying Prevention Program (OBPP) is a comprehensive approach that includes school wide, classroom, individual, and community components. The program is focused on long-term change that creates a safe and positive school climate. It is used in elementary, middle, and high schools. The program’s goals are to reduce and prevent bullying problems and to improve peer relations at school. The program has been found to reduce bullying among students, improve the social climate of classrooms, and reduce behaviors such as vandalism and truancy. 3

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What Has Been Done in West Virginia?

The Marshall University School Health Technical Assistance Center (MUSHTAC) used the funds from WVBBH to provide training of trainers and to purchase program materials and online subscriptions for schools. Becoming an Olweus trainer-consultant usually takes from 12-24 months. Potential trainers submitted applications to MUSHTAC and Clemson University. Successful applicants participated in a hybrid learning series consisting of two days of in-person training, online instructor-facilitated and independent sessions, reporting, 12 months of national coaching support, and they each trained and provided consultation to at least two schools.

Due to this initiative, we have added eight (8) OBPP Nationally Certified Trainer-Consultants in our state: Anne Farmer (Tucker Schools), Crystal Criswell (MUSHTAC), JoAnn Tweeddale (Fayette Schools), Kenneth Birchfield (Southern Highlands), Nathan Settle (Westbrook Health), Peggy Stull (Youth Health Services), Rhonda Chuyka (Fayette Schools), and Tiffany Pittman (MUSHTAC). A full list of all OBPP Nationally Certified Trainer-Consultants in West Virginia is available here. So far, eighteen (18) schools in six (6) counties have trained all their staff in the program, and fifteen of those schools have begun full implementation. Read the 2023 Olweus Bullying Prevention Program Year End Review published by MUSHTAC.

How Can Your School Start Implementing OBPP?

Any of the certified trainer-consultants can contract with other schools that want to implement OBPP. This is a school wide model and requires multiple steps to implement, as follows:

  • Establish school administrative and teacher buy-in to implement the Olweus Bullying Prevention Program
  • Contract with a Trainer-Consultant and initiate Electronic Subscription
  • Form and train the school’s Bullying Prevention Coordinating Committee
  • Administer the Olweus Bullying Questionnaire (OBQ) to students
  • Train all school staff including cafeteria, janitorial, secretarial, and transportation staff
  • Hold a Bullying Prevention Kickoff Event for students and families
  • Initiate Classroom Discussions
  • Engage in 1 year of Consultation
  • Re-administer the OBQ annually

For more information about the Olweus Bullying Prevention Program in West Virginia, contact MUSHTAC.