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Olweus brings bully-free program to Stadium Drive



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November 06, 2013 - By Meg Peters

Review Staff Writer

Stadium Drive Elementary School of the Arts is kicking bullying behavior in the boo-tay.

With three elementary schools to go, the Lake Orion Community Schools district has almost completely implemented the Olweus Bullying Prevention Program (OBPP), with Stadium Drive hopping on the bus Wednesday, October 30.

The OBPP is a global bullying preventative program, originally founded by Dan Olweus, a research professor of psychology at a Norwegian university. More than 12 countries use Olweus, and over 1,000 schools in the U.S. have implemented the program.

Focusing on long-term change to create a safe, positive and productive school environment, OBPP includes school wide, individual, classroom and community components, according to http://www.clemson.edu/olweus/about.html.

Once a week teachers at Stadium Drive will hold class meetings containing a lesson on bullying, whether identifying bullying, or how to stand up for those who are bullied.

Teaching and support staff presented an enthusiastic Bully Prevention Program Kick Off assembly October 30, with the Lake Orion High School Drum Line providing the music and members of the Varsity Cheer team leading an anti-bullying chant competition to the entire school.

The teaching and support staff also made the students a special video.

"This was our explicit message that we are here to help you, we want to help you, and that's what we're here for," Stadium Drive principal Rob Murray said.

A study conducted in 2011 by the National Education Association found that 60 percent of students with disabilities reported being bullied regularly compared with 25 percent of all students. Another study concluded 23 percent of students are bullied based on weight, 20 percent on gender, and perceived sexual orientation was a focus for 18 percent of people bullied.

"We're trying to create the safest, most secure environment we can for kids because we want them to be here thinking about learning rather than who's going to pick on them at recess," he said.

Most of the bullying that has occurred at Stadium Drive happened during unstructured times, like recess, lunch time and on the bus, Murray explained.

Kindergarten teacher Melanie Koehn, who led the assembly, said teachers have been boarding buses after school in response, to remind students to behave.

Koehn said that for some kids when school's out the rules go out the window.

"The bus is still part of the classroom, it's a moving classroom," she explained, sending giggles throughout the young crowd.

She hit on the four rules that students have been learning during structured classroom time dedicated to bullying prevention. 1) We will not bully others. 2) We will try to help students that are being bullied. 3) We will try to include students who are left out. And 4) If we know that someone is being bullied at school, we will tell an adult at school and an adult at home.

Teachers and support staff all sported t-shirts saying "Take a stand, lend a hand."

After reading "Bully Beans," a story on a mom who empowered her child with magical "bully beans, Murray shared his thinking.

"We have to have the courage to stand up to bullies, in a safe way," he said. "And, we have to work together, with each other or other adults."

OPBB has been implemented in the high school, the middle schools, and will be implemented next year in Carpenter Elementary, Webber Elementary and Blanche Sims Elementary.

The total cost of the program is $48,000 for the entire district.

Founded by a research professor of psychology in Norway, Dan Olweus is often considered the pioneer of bullying research. He first began his research in the early 1970s, proposed enacting a bullying prevention law in schools in 1981, and by the 1990s both Norwegian and Swedish parliaments did just that.

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