Behavioral Interventions in General Education
A report on youth violence released by the U.S. Surgeon General in January, 2001 (U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, 2001a) contained an overview of model and promising programs that deter antisocial behaviors. These programs cover a wide range of intervention strategies, including family therapy, drug and alcohol awareness, parent training, and early childhood programs. Two of these programs are described below as examples of universal, school-based prevention with some form of parent involvement.
Bullying Prevention Program
This program is a school-wide prevention effort that originated in Norway and proved to be effective enough to reduce bully-victim problems by 50 percent. It also reduced vandalism, theft, and truancy, and students reported that it contributed to a better school climate. This program has been replicated in England, Germany, and the United States. It is an all-inclusive measure designed to heighten awareness and knowledge about bullying behavior by increasing the involvement of all responsible adults—teachers, parents, school bus drivers, administrators, counselors, and students.
The program establishes clear rules against bullying and provides support and protection for the victims. The first step in the process is the administration of the Olweus (the founder) Bully/Victim Questionnaire to students. This survey assesses the extent of the school’s bullying problem and provides data against which improvement can be measured.
A committee consisting of representatives of teachers and other responsible adults, as well as students, is then set up to oversee the school’s antiviolence efforts. In the classroom, students and teachers agree on a few simple rules—not bullying other students, helping those students who are bullied, including everyone in all activities. Teachers are given program materials and training to help students develop positive incentives to abide by the rules. All school staff receive training. Adults in the school are expected to intervene immediately if there is any indication of a bullying problem.