Description of the Bully Free® Program
This document reviews the philosophy, structure, and effective elements and components of the Bully Free® Program. This program is the most comprehensive/complete school-wide or districtwide anti-bullying program available to schools and districts around the world. It is a researchbased program that includes administrative strategies, teacher strategies, lesson plans for each grade level (preschool through high school), classroom meetings, student involvement, bystander empowerment, and an optional training and presentation component and Bully Free® Bus Training and Preventions Strategies. The program also includes parent involvement, community involvement, and all of the elements and components that must be present in effective antibullying programs.
What are the major goals of the Bully Free® Program?
The major goals of the program are:
- To send a clear message to students, staff, parents, and community members that bullying will not be tolerated.
- To train staff and students and to provide information to parents relative to taking steps to preventing and stopping bullying.
- To establish and enforce rules and policies focusing on bullying.
- To reduce existing bullying situations through administrative and teacher-centered strategies and a comprehensive scope and sequence of age-appropriate lesson plans for each grade level.
- To create more peaceful and safer schools and school buses.
- To promote a sense of belonging and acceptance in all students so that they feel connected to their school.
- To involve and empower students as bystanders to prevent and stop bullying.
- To involve parents in the program.
- To involve the community in the program.
- To create a school culture where adults are warm, positive, and trustworthy role models and viewed as authorities. Adults are clear authorities but caring and respectful in the way they treat students and other adults.
- To significantly improve adult supervision on school property, especially in high-risk areas.
- To restructure the school culture and social environment in a way that adults and students take action and expect immediate intervention, investigation, and confrontation of students engaged in bullying behavior.
- To implement nonphysical and non-hostile strategies for changing the behavior of students engaged in bullying and follow through with disciplinary actions if the bullying behavior persists.
- To provide intervention for children who are bullied and who bully.
What is the Bully Free® Program’s Philosophy?
The philosophy of the Bully Free® Program is based on child development research; social psychology; research regarding school climate and development of a peaceful, safe, and meaningful community; effective teaching; learning principles; behavior and classroom management; and current thinking regarding effective anti-bullying programs.
The Bully Free® Program is based on and maintains the following:
- Bullying is a form of overt and aggressive behavior that is intentional, hurtful (physical or psychological, or both), and persistent (repeated). Bullied students are teased, harassed, and assaulted verbally or physically by one or more peers and often socially rejected by their peers. There has to be an imbalance of power. Although this definition of bullying is well accepted, some children may be hurt so much by a single event that they are changed for life. Therefore, it is not as important to label an event as bullying as it is to help children who are being hurt, regardless of the number of times they have been mistreated.
- Bullying is violence and is a heart problem. Students need to have more empathy and sensitivity regarding the needs and experiences of others. They must overcome their desire to be accepted by those who seem popular and powerful and who mistreat others. They also must have the courage to intervene in bullying situations, when there is no danger of being harmed themselves. An effective program also maintains that children basically have good hearts and that an effective program should emphasize their potential for future leadership, affirm their strengths, and encourage them to do good and remarkable things. Therefore, an effective anti-bullying program discourages labeling children as victims or bullies. There are simply children who are mistreated (bullied) and children who mistreat others (bullies). Both groups need help.
- Bullying behavior should not be labeled as mild, moderate, and severe. How children respond to mistreatment varies too greatly. One child, because of his or her past life experiences (psychological and relational), temperament, personality, sensitivity, and other characteristics, may consider a bullying behavior moderate or severe bullying while another child considers the same behavior as a mild form of bullying.
- An effective program:
- Should include not only a framework, policies, and procedures but also proactive prevention strategies and intervention strategies that are administrative, teacher centered, student centered, and parent centered, as well as an age-appropriate curriculum (lesson plans, materials, and resources for each grade level) with an appropriate scope and sequence. This eliminates the need for schools to take the time to determine what must be taught at each grade level.
- Has been systematically implemented district-wide and school-wide and the coordinating team is provided a manual and tools to ensure such systematic implementation. The program must be continuous and become a way of living every day in the school for all school personnel. It’s not enough to have a few teachers or the counselor teaching lessons and responding to bullying.
- Helps prevent students from becoming targets of bullying, helps those who are bullied, helps children who bully change the way they act, empowers bystanders, and educates all stakeholders (for example, school personnel, parents, and community representatives).
- Has implementation flexibility that does not jeopardize effectiveness. One size does not fit all. All schools and communities are different, and schools should be allowed to select strategies that are most appropriate for them.
- Maintains that the main responsibility of a program rests with adults, but also maintains that student-initiated change is critical, beginning with school personnel seeking input from all students and listening to students. An effective program harnesses the knowledge, experience, and energy of the students.
- Maintains that, when appropriate, students who are bullied need to learn how to clearly state their disapproval of their mistreatment and help themselves in other ways, but it is mainly the responsibility of adults to prevent and stop bullying.
- Maintains that it is important not to minimize any problem, such as sexual harassment or racism, by classifying it under the umbrella term bullying. Although an effective anti-bullying program will attack these problems, additional efforts are required to prevent and reduce these problems.
- Maintains that peer mediation and conflict resolution are not usually effective in helping true aggressive bullies to change. These are just important skills to teach students in order to have a more peaceful school.
- Endorses that consistent application of consequences is important (negative for inappropriate behavior and positive for desired new behavior) but also encourages a healthy dialogue regarding norms, rules, and issues between school personnel, students, and parents that stimulates creativity and solutions to life problems, especially bullying. Pro-social (non-punitive) strategies should also be used. Also, improvement in behavior should be rewarded.
- Places great value on quality and sufficient adult supervision. Each school should develop a supervision plan that includes strategies for each high-risk area identified and provides training for supervisors. Therefore, the program should include a bank of ideas for increasing and improving the quality of supervision and adding structure to unstructured times. To support these efforts, the program should include behavioral expectations for each high-risk area.
- Seeks to change the culture of the school and create a “telling environment.” To change the culture of a school, all faculty, staff, and students need to be involved in the program. There must also be strong parent involvement. Students need to see and experience activities and visuals (such as bully free posters, banners, bulletin boards, and bracelets) that communicate that the school is serious about preventing and stopping bullying. These serve as visual safety cues. Students also see an appropriate response to bullying and need to feel that teachers and staff care about their hurt, understand their hurt, and know how to respond in a way that will not make it worse for them.
- Rewards efforts to make the school bully free and celebrates successful efforts and the achievement of program goals.
Who will benefit from the program?
Any anti-bullying program should be used in every school and have a broad base of impact. The Bully Free® Program targets students in preschool, elementary, middle or junior high, and high school and, to some extent, the community. Some of the strategies are designed specifically for students who are bullied and students who bully others, while other strategies are designed for all students in a school. There is also a bank of administrative strategies. Parents, law enforcement officers, and community representatives also play a role in the program. System-wide, schoolwide, classroom, and individual components interrelate throughout the program.
What are the major components of the Bully Free® Program?
The Bully Free® Program includes the following major components that should be present in any anti-bullying program:
- Each school forms and trains a coordinating committee called the Bully Free® Program Team. The team is a working committee that meets on a regular basis and makes sure the 19 program implementation steps are completed (see Appendix A) When the program is implemented in several schools, a district steering committee is encouraged.
- One member of the team serves as the director or coordinator of the program. This person selects a team member to serve as the team’s recorder or secretary, and another member is asked to coordinate the evaluation of the program (determining effectiveness).
- Mission statement, goals, objectives, a slogan, and logo are established by the Bully Free® Program Team.
- There is an ongoing effort to promote acceptance and a sense of belonging in all students by encouraging them to treat others the way they would want to be treated.
- Anti-bullying policies, procedures, rules, discipline rubrics, and behavioral expectations are established.
- Response plans are developed to allow immediate, consistent intervention by adults.
- Appropriate progressive negative or reductive consequences and positive consequences are used as well as non-punitive, non-blaming approaches.
- A comprehensive bank of research-based and proven prevention and intervention strategies is provided. The components are:
- System centered (district-wide and school-wide)
- Child centered (the bullied, the child who bullies, followers, bystanders)
- Peer centered (empowerment of bystanders)
- Family centered
- Personnel centered
- Community centered
- Bullying awareness training and program implementation training are provided for all school personnel.
- Bully free awareness presentation is held for parents and community representatives.
- A bully free awareness assembly is held for students.
- There is an assembly for students to increase awareness and their involvement.
- There is a meeting for parents, school personnel, and community representatives to increase awareness and their involvement.
- Serious talks or interviews are conducted with children who are bullied, children who bully, followers, and bystanders.
- Bully free lesson plans are provided for every grade level, from preschool to high school.
- Classroom meetings are used for reviewing lessons and problem-solving.
- Reporting systems and bulletin boards, posters, banners, pamphlets, and bracelets designed to help change the culture of the school are provided.
- Adults model treating others the way you want to be treated. There are consequences when they are not good models.
- Strategies are included for a:
- Student involvement and empowerment plan
- Parent involvement and education plan
- Community involvement and education plan
- Strategies are included for:
- Identifying children who are bullied, children who bully, and followers
- Ongoing communication with stakeholders o Maintaining the program’s momentum
- Communicating leadership’s commitment
- Creating a “telling environment”: school personnel and parents must become “safe places” to tell about bullying
- Identifying high-risk areas
- Developing and monitoring a supervision plan, supervision schedule, and information exchange system
- Evaluating the effectiveness of the program
- Ongoing review and monitoring of program implementation and effectiveness are conducted through surveys, examining existing data, staff focus meetings, student focus meetings, and parent focus meetings.
- Strategies for maintaining momentum throughout the school year and each following year are provided.
- Intervention plans are provided for children who are bullied and children who bully.
What are the major elements of the Bully Free® Program?
The components of the program include the following critical elements:
- Addresses all forms of bullying: physical, verbal, social, relational, and electronic.
- Uses research-based strategies and an age-appropriate curriculum, with lesson plans for each grade level from preschool through high school.
- Recognizes and allows the creativity and preferences of schools yet ensures systematic and consistent implementation.
- Includes curriculum and a multitude of strategies that promote acceptance and a sense of belonging, empower bystanders, and address all forms of bullying behavior: physical, verbal, social-relational, and electronic.
- Addresses empathy, impulse control, anger management, friendship, supporting children who are bullied, changing the behavior of children who bully, empowerment of bystanders, parent education, community involvement, and much more.
- Provides instruction in peer mediation and conflict resolution. Although these are not usually effective in resolving bullying problems, they are important skills to give children.
- Empowers school personnel, parents, volunteers, community representatives, and students.
- Is process oriented (as opposed to conducting only special events). It maintains that the little things done every day—for example, letting others hear you compliment a student who is bullied, helping students identify what they have in common, and giving a student a list of his or her positive characteristics—are what make a difference in attitudes, thinking, and behavior.
- Includes an ongoing effort to encourage students to treat others the way they would want to be treated.
- Includes student-initiated activities.
- Includes systematic implementation of prevention and intervention strategies that are administrative, teacher centered, student centered, and parent centered and are coupled with curriculum.
- Includes policies and procedures for investigating rumors and unverified reports of bullying, as well as responding to bullying when it is observed.
- Seeks to help all stakeholders (school personnel, students, parents, community representatives) understand the nature of bullying.
- Harnesses the energy and commitment of students and empowers them as bystanders.
- Encourages adults to model treating others the way they want to be treated.
- Identifies high-risk areas and includes supervision strategies and supportive supervisory strategies to be used (for example, adding structure to unstructured activities).
- Recognizes that boys and girls from all walks of life bully and is sensitive to the differences in their behavior.
- Creates a “telling environment”: all adults must be “safe places” to tell about bullying.
- Does not minimize any forms of bullying behavior and does not classify such behaviors as mild, moderate, and severe because the impact varies too much from one student to another.
- Includes several student-to-student and student-to-adult activities focusing on student thinking, input, and feedback, including student focus meetings and lesson plan activities requiring students to discuss questions, reach consensus, express orally and in writing their thoughts and feelings, and so on.
What materials and resources are included in the program?
Materials to Guide the Bully Free® Program Team. Each team member is provided a copy of Bullying Prevention for Schools: A Step-by-Step Guide to Implementing the Bully Free® Program (Publisher: Jossey-Bass). The team is also given access at www.bullyfree.com to numerous helpful Microsoft Word files of program implementation materials, handouts, and examples of such documents as discipline rubrics, policies, and supervision plans, and much more.
Kits of Instructional Materials and Support Resources. Teachers, counselors, parents, and students are provided a variety of instructional and support materials and resources. The instructional materials and resources are available in kits for each level: Preschool Kit, Elementary Kit, Middle School Kit, and High School Kit. A listing of the materials in each kit and their cost appear in Appendix B of this document. All of the materials can also be purchased individually. The Bully Free® Program Kits include a comprehensive scope and sequence of lesson plans for every level. There are over 30 core/essential lesson per grade level. Every teacher teaches one core lesson per week. At each grade level, there are several supplemental lessons that can be taught by school counselors. The preschool lessons are approximately 15 minutes in length, elementary and middle school lessons are 30-45 minutes, and the high school lessons are 15 minutes. Also included in the kits are materials for teachers, counselors, parents, students, and even reference guides for school support staff such as secretaries, maintenance personnel, and cafeteria service personnel. There are also materials that can be placed in the school library. The program includes supportive materials such as pamphlets, posters, bulletin boards, banners, bracelets (optional), card games, and many other materials.
Is training required to implement the program? No. However, several districts have ask Dr. Allan Beane, the developer of the program, to speak to the entire district and to provide some training. He is also often asked to conduct school assembly programs and conduct a parent or community-wide presentation. The program’s coordinating committee will conduct some training during the implementation of the program.
What training resources are available? Districts can purchase a Training and Presentation Kit (see Attachment C) that includes over four hours of training on DVD for school personnel and a CD with PowerPoints and scripts for conducting school assembly programs and for training school personnel to respond to bullying they hear and see. There is also a two-hour DVD presentation for parents. Dr. Allan Beane, the developer of the program, is also available for training. On-line training is being developed.
Does the Bully Free® Program include training and strategies for preventing and stopping bullying on school buses?
Yes. The Bully Free® Bus Training Course and Prevention Strategies Kit is an optional kit available for school districts. The kit includes five hours of anti-bullying training on three high-quality DVDs. This training is for bus drivers, bus attendants, monitors, etc. Also included is a manual for Directors of Transportation with over 100 strategies for preventing and stopping bullying on buses. The kit also includes a CD-ROM with 80 or more MicroSoft Word Files. See Appendix D for a detailed description of this kit.
How effective is the Bully Free® Program?
This program has been used by small and large school districts throughout the United States and its materials and resources have been used in over twelve countries. The Bully Free® Program is the most comprehensive research-based anti-bullying program. Its effectiveness has been published in the following books:
- Beane, Allan L. (2009). Bullying Prevention for Schools: A Step-by-Step Guide to Implementing a Successful Anti-bullying Program, Jossey-Bass, San Francisco, CA.
- Beane, Allan L., Miller, Thomas W. and Spurling, Rick. “The Bully Free® Program: A Profile for Prevention in the School Setting” (Book Chapter published in School Violence and Primary Prevention (2008), Thomas W. Miller (Editor), Springer Science + Business Media, LLC, 233 Spring Street, New York, pages 391-406.
- Spurling, Rick. (Dec. 2004). The Bully-Free School Zone Character Education Program: A Study of the Impact on Five Western North Carolina Middle Schools. East Tennessee State University, Johnson City, Tennessee.
The program is based on scientific research and includes scientifically proven strategies and curriculum. Prior to developing the program, Bully Free® Systems, LLC carefully conducted an analysis of the current research on the topic and related topics (i.e., promoting acceptance, hate, prejudice, discrimination, peer rejection, conflict, anger, behavior management, violence, assimilation, sense of community, school climate, etc.) and effective instructional practices. Current educational standards were also analyzed. Research was conducted to develop an appropriate scope and sequence of the knowledge and skills to be learned. The administrative and teacher focused strategies and the curriculum were developed and tested through problem-solving teacher and administrator focus groups as well as in a variety of school settings. Since 1999, teachers and other professionals have reported the educational effectiveness of the materials and resources included in the Bully Free® Program.
Research was conducted to develop an appropriate scope and sequence of the knowledge and skills to be learned. The administrative and teacher focused strategies and the curriculum were developed and tested through problem-solving teacher and administrator focus groups as well as in a variety of school settings. Since 1999, teachers and other professionals have reported the educational effectiveness of the materials and resources included in the Bully Free® Program.
The effectiveness of the program has been evaluated by using widely recognized reliable and valid quantitative and qualitative methods that involve rigorous data analysis. For example, reliable (.91) surveys have been used to collect quantitative data. Pre- and post-program existing data (i.e., attendance, expulsions, suspensions, detentions, vandalism, test scores, aggressive occurrences, etc.) were also examined. Qualitative and continuous assessment methods such as focus groups with school personnel, students, and parents have been used to collect information about the implementation, quality, and effectiveness of the program.
In 2010, the Bully Free® Program was piloted in ten school districts. Both formative and summative evaluation strategies were used to test the effectiveness of the program. The school districts used the first year to train school personnel and to plan. The second year they implemented the strategies and curriculum (Bully Free® Lesson Plans). The following is a summary of a few of the findings when preand post-program data for the elementary, middle, and high schools were analyzed. After looking at the ttest statistical significance (p < .05), improvement was found in 50 of the 59 behavior items measured by the survey. The following is a sampling of the findings in two areas: What Students See and What Happens to Students.
What Students See
The Bully Free® Program:
- decreased the number of students who see other students hit, pinched, kicked, tripped, pushed, elbowed, touched, or grabbed in a hurtful or embarrassing way
- decreased the number of students who see other students ignored, rejected, lied about, had rumors told about them, or had hurtful and mean notes written about them
- decreased the number of students who see other students called names, teased, made fun of the way they look or dress, or put down in a hurtful way
- decreased the number of students who see other students have things damaged or stolen from them.
What Happens to Students
The Bully Free® Program:
- decreased the number of students hit, pinched, kicked, tripped, pushed, elbowed, touched, or grabbed in a hurtful or embarrassing way.
- decreased the number of students ignored, rejected, lied about, had rumors told about them, or had hurtful and mean notes written about them.
- decreased the number of students called names, teased, made fun of the way they look or dress, or put down in a hurtful way.
- decreased the number of students who had things damaged or stolen from them.
- decreased the number of students bullied while waiting for the bus to arrive to take them to school.
- decreased the number of students bullied while riding the bus home from school.
The Bully Free® Program was also tested for effectiveness in one middle school of 200 students and in five (5) western North Carolina Middle schools (grades 5-8). After only 175 days of implementation, the Bully Free® Program:
- increased attendance by 7%
- decreased the number of students who saw bullying in their school by 35.7% 9
- decreased the number of students who were bullied by 24.6%
- increased the number of students who said they reported bullying & it was handled appropriately by 54%
- improved End of Grade (EOG) Test Scores by 10%
- decreased the number of aggressive occurrence by 29%
- decreased suspensions as a result of aggressive behavior by 16%
- improved the dynamics of interpersonal relationships that exists in each school’s community (student to student, student to teacher, teacher to teacher, parent to teacher, parent to parent, and school to community)
- improved lines of communication between all stakeholders
- decreased incidences of aggressive and violent behavior
- increased positive interactions between teachers and students during non-class times
- increased awareness of the need for and importance of adults modeling positive interactions
- increased consciousness of adults regarding their behavior
- increased understanding of students of their role in preventing and stopping bullying
- increased personnel’s comfort level and confidence in their ability to deal with bullying
- dramatically decreased boy’s fighting
- changed how discipline was administered
- increased a sense of security
- increased attendance and involvement of students at after-school events
- decreased vandalism
What is the cost of the program?
The following table has been provided to help you determine the cost of implementing the Bully Free® Program. It is not an order form. For a detailed description of each item in the kits, go to our home page and click on “Products” and then click on the desired kit(s). Then, you can click on a kit item and read a description of the item. Again, a list of the items in each kit appears in Appendix B of this document.
||Number of Schools
|Bully Free® Program Kit – Preschool
|Bully Free® Program Kit – Elementary School
|Bully Free® Program Kit – Middle School
|Bully Free® Program Kit – High School
|Bully Free® Presentation and Training Kit
||1 for district-wide use
|Bully Free® Bus Training Course and Prevention Strategies Kit
||1 for district-wide use
|Shipping and Handling 10% (US)
|Taxes (6%) or Tax Exempt
If your budget will not allow the above, perhaps you can order the following for each school and build the program by ordering more materials each year.
- At least 4 copies of Bullying Prevention for Schools: A Step-by-Step Guide for Implementing a Successful Anti-bullying Program by Allan L. Beane, Ph.D. (4 x $35.95 = $143.80). This implementation manual is for each member of the committee/team in each school charged with the responsibility of implementing the program, so you may need to order more than four copies.
- Bully Free® Lesson Plans as pdf files for the number of schools implementing the program. When ordered separately from the kits, the cost is based on the number of schools: 1-5 schools = $400; 6-50 schools = $300; and 51 + schools = $200 per school. (When you order, specify the desired grade levels.)
- The Bully Free® Presentation and Training Kit ($1,899) and the Bully Free® Bus Training Course and Prevention Strategies ($599)
- Bully Free® Reference Guide for Teachers, Counselors and Principals by Allan L. Beane, Ph.D. (CD pdf file - $50)
- Bully Free® Reference Guide for Support Personnel by Allan L. Beane, Ph.D. (CD pdf file - $50)
If you need further assistance or wish Dr. Beane to present in your district, please contact us at (270) 227-0431 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
When ordering, use the order form at www.bullyfree.com.