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NOTICE: The Charter Vision project is dormant as of January 2008. This website is provided for archival purposes only.

Bullying: Are we Doing Enough?

Sean (Grade 08 / Northfield School of Arts and Technology) Originally published November 2003

Two years ago, I first started middle school. I, like almost everyone else, was pretty nervous.

Things went well at first, but after a couple of months everything changed. By spring, I totally dreaded school. I can’t pinpoint when things changed, but I can say why. The teachers and staff were either indifferent to bullying or told me to just ignore it.

Then I spent a year in Oslo, Norway. At the school I was attending, TÃ¥sen Skole, they were using the Dan Olweus Anti-Bullying program. If I were to describe it in one word that word would probably be, “success.” I was not bullied once.

This sparked my interest, so I did some research on the Dan Olweus Program. It was started in 1983, when three teenage boys in northern Norway committed suicide as a result of bullying. After that, the Norwegian Department of Education realized that bullying was a real issue. They hired Dan Olweus to develop an anti-bullying program. Today that same program is practiced all over the world. The schools in the US that began the program saw a 30-70% drop in bullying. Most schools on the program also have higher grade averages and less truancy.

By now you’re probably wondering how this program works. Teachers participate in an anti-bullying seminar to learn how to deal with these issues. Every fall and spring surveys are given to every student. The staff can use the results to see how to deal with bullying. Another reason this program works is that there is a zero-tolerance on bullying. Losing the “boys will be boys” attitude really can make a difference.

My question is: Are our schools doing enough to prevent bullying? Are we doing enough? If you’re interested in learning more about the Dan Olweus Bullying Prevention Program visit:

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