The Olweus Bullying Prevention Program (OBPP) is a school-wide, comprehensive framework focused on systemic change to create a safe and positive school climate. The goals of the OBPP are to:
- reduce existing bullying problems among students
- prevent new bullying problems
- achieve better peer relations
These goals are pursued by restructuring the school environment to reduce opportunities and rewards for bullying, encouraging pro-social behaviors, and building a sense of community. The OBPP is designed for students in elementary, middle, and high schools and involves all staff, students, parents, and the community in bullying prevention efforts. All students participate in most aspects of the program, while students who bully others and students who are bullied receive additional individualized interventions.
"Blueprints Certified: Meeting the highest standards of evidence through independent review by the nation's top scientists."
The OBPP is backed by over 30 years of research and is listed on Blueprints for Healthy Youth Development Registry of Evidence-based Positive Youth Development Programs https://www.blueprintsprograms.org/programs/11999999/olweus-bullying-prevention-program.
OBPP is used at the school, classroom, individual, and community levels and includes tools to reach out to parents for involvement and support. The OBPP addresses the problem of bullying at multiple levels.
- Establish a Bullying Prevention Coordinating Committee (BPCC)
- Conduct committee and staff trainings
- Administer the Olweus Bullying Questionnaire (OBQ)
- Hold staff discussion groups
- Introduce the school rules against bullying
- Refine the school’s supervisory system
- Hold a school kick-off event
- Involve parents
- Post and enforce school-wide rules against bullying
- Hold regular class meetings
- Hold meetings with students’ parents
- Supervise students’ activities
- Ensure that all staff intervene on-the-spot when bullying occurs
- Hold meetings with students involved in bullying
- Hold meetings with families of involved students
- Develop individual intervention plans for involved students
- Involve community members on the BPCC
- Develop partnerships to support your program
- Help spread anti-bullying messages and best practice throughout the community
Evidence-based bullying prevention programs are a wise investment. A cost benefit analysis of the OBPP implementation found that a district can recover more than the cost of OBPP implementation if they prevent just two students from transferring to an alternative setting due to school bullying.
The start-up costs for the OBPP are one-time expenses that occur only in year one of implementation. Ongoing implementation results in lower costs in subsequent years when it is important to budget for ongoing training and other activities that will keep your staff’s commitment to the program running high.
Readiness Assessment (download)
Successful implementation of the program begins with training and consultation.
- A certified OBPP Trainer-Consultant or trained Olweus Coach conducts training for members of the school's Bullying Prevention Coordinating Committee
- Ongoing telephone consultation for at least one full school year (18-24 months preferred) with a Certified OBPP Trainer-Consultant or trained Olweus Coach.
There are two options when considering OBPP training for your school and/or district.
- Find a Certified Trainer-Consultant.
- Have someone from your school or district attend the Olweus Coach Training.
The Hazelden Betty Ford Foundation is the leading publisher of evidence-based prevention programs and the exclusive publisher of the OBPP. Visit Violence Prevention Works! for information about program materials.
What is the Olweus Bullying Prevention Program (OBPP)?
The Olweus Bullying Prevention Program is a whole school program that has been proven to prevent or reduce bullying throughout a school setting. The OBPP is based on four basic principles, derived from research on reducing aggressive behavior. Adults in school need to:
- Show warmth, positive interest, and involvement.
- Set firm limits for unacceptable behavior.
- Consistently use supportive, predictable consequences when unacceptable behavior occurs.
- Act as authorities and positive role models.
These principles have been translated to a number of strategies that are implemented at the schoolwide, classroom, individual, and community levels and includes tools to reach out to parents for involvement and support.
What are the goals of the OBPP?
• To reduce existing bullying problems among students.
• To prevent the development of new bullying problems.
• To achieve better peer relations at school.
These goals are pursued by restructuring the school environment to reduce opportunities and rewards for bullying, encouraging pro-social behaviors, and building a sense of community.
What grade levels is the OBPP designed for?
The OBPP is designed for students in elementary, middle, and high schools (students ages five to eighteen years old). All students participate in the universal aspects of the program, while students identified as bullying others, or as students being bullied, receive additional individualized interventions.
Is the OBPP an evidence-based program?
Yes, the OBPP is an evidence-based program. It is listed as a Promising Program on the Blueprints for Healthy Youth Development Registry of Evidence-based Positive Youth Development Programs. The OBPP is backed by over 35 years of research and incorporates what researchers and practitioners have identified as best practices in bullying prevention. Learn more about Why the OBPP Works.
Has the OBPP been proven to be effective?
OBPP has over 40 years of research and successful implementation all over the world. Seven large-scale evaluations of the OBPP have been carried out in Norway with very positive effects. Studies of the OBPP in the U.S. have also produced encouraging results. In a recent evaluation of a large scale implementation of the OBPP in the U.S. there were significant decreases in being bullied and in bullying others over three years. Other program effects were also documented: There were increases in students’ expressions of empathy with bullied peers, decreases in students’ willingness to join in bullying, and increases in perceptions that their primary teacher had addressed bullying at the school. Overall, the program effects were stronger the longer the program had been in place.
In May 2016, The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine released a new report, Preventing Bullying through Science, Policy, and Practice. The report emphasizes that “the most likely effective bullying prevention programs are whole school, multicomponent programs that combine elements of universal and targeted strategies.” They also noted that the Olweus Bullying Prevention Program is “the most extensively studied bullying prevention program” of this type.
In a meta-analyses that is widely recognized as the most comprehensive and rigorous meta-analyses on bullying prevention programs, Ttofi & Farrington found that whole-school programs can be successful in reducing bullying but there are great variations in the effects of different programs. Researchers concluded that that programs “inspired by the work of Dan Olweus worked best” (Ttofi et al., 2008, p. 69) and that future efforts should be “grounded in the successful Olweus programme” (p.72).
Is the OBPP effective at the high school level?
Yes, the OBPP is designed for students in elementary, middle, and high school and research has been conducted at all levels. A U.S. study of a large-scale implementation of the Olweus Bullying Prevention Program with children and youth in grades 3-11 showed decreases in being bullied and bullying others observed for boys and girls in grades 9-11. Program effects generally took somewhat longer to appear for older students.
How do I request permission to use the OBQ data for research purposes?
Complete the Request to Use OBQ data for Research Purposes and submit by email to Jan Urbanski who will process your request. Once your request has been reviewed and approved, Hazelden Publishing will email the “Sample OBQ data” to the contact person listed on the request.
How does my school begin implementing the OBPP?
Implementation of the program begins with a certified OBPP Trainer-Consultant or a trained Olweus Coach conducting a 12-hour training for a Bullying Prevention Coordinating Committee at the school. This is followed by ongoing consultation to provide assistance in the implementation of program elements, with particular attention to trouble-shooting challenges that may arise, and helping to maintain the program over time. Training and consultation services include:
- A 12-hour training offered to members of a school's Bullying Prevention Coordinating Committee (BPCC). Trainings are conducted by OBPP Certified Trainers-Consultants or trained Olweus Coaches.
- Ongoing consultation for at least one full school year (18-24 months preferred) with an OBPP Certified Trainer-Consultant or Olweus Coach.
School personnel may either locate an existing OBPP Certified Trainer-Consultant or have school personnel attend an Olweus Coach Training.
What if we have more than one school to train?
Often if you have three or more schools that will be implementing the OBPP, it is more cost efficient to have someone from the district attend an Olweus Coach Training. This will allow for multiple schools to be trained and promotes sustainability with ongoing in-house support throughout program implementation. Large districts may want to consider an OBPP Integrated Model that includes training, program materials, and project management. Email Jan Urbanski to learn more about the Integrated Model or for help deciding what training option is best for your school.
How can I find a local certified trainer?
Click here to find a listing of OBPP Certified Trainers-Consultants. Trainers-Consultants are listed in the state or country where they reside.
How much does it cost to implement the OBPP?
The main categories of cost are the initial training, consultation, and program materials. Trainer-Consultant rates will vary but cannot be more than $3,000 for a 2 day committee training plus up to $125/hour/school for the consultation that follows. It may be more cost effective to have someone from your school district attend an Olweus Coach Training that includes a specialized digital subscription for a school.
The program material costs listed below are standard costs for print materials. Bulk discounts are available as well as electronic formats. Contact Hazelden Publishing for information on electronic options and exact price quotes. 1-800-328-9000.
Required Program Materials:
- Olweus Bullying Questionnaire (OBQ) - Each student grades 3-12. $43.95 for 30 scannable surveys with scanning service.
- OBPP Schoolwide Guide - For Bullying Prevention Coordinating Committee members. $98.95
- OBPP Teacher Guide - For classroom teachers and identified staff members. $62.95
Optional Program Materials:
- Class Meetings that Matter: A Year's Worth of Class Meeting Ideas for Grades K-5, Grades 6-8, and Grades 9-12. $86.95
- More Class Meetings that Matter for Grades K-5, Grades 6-8, and Grades 9-12. $62.95
- Class Meeting and Individual Intervention for elementary, middle, and high school. This video is used for BPCC, staff and parent training. $214.95.
- Bullying for Grades K-5 and Grades 6-8. A general video that introduces key concepts to students, teachers and parents. (Good for parent groups, class meetings, teacher discussion groups.) $119.00
- Cyberbullying Curriculum for Grades 3-5 and Grades 6-12. $119.00
Are there ongoing costs to keep the OBPP in place?
The start-up costs for the OBPP program including training and program materials are one-time expenses that occur only in the first year of implementation. All required materials are purchased the first year. Some schools purchase optional recommended program materials the second year of implementation, others purchase all materials during year one.
Ongoing implementation results in lower costs in subsequent years and will vary depending on whether a school has purchased printed program materials or an electronic subscription. Ongoing costs may include the recommended annual survey of students using the Olweus Bullying Questionnaire (OBQ) and renewal of the electronic subscription for program materials every 3 years (includes the OBQ). Sustainability costs may involve training each year for new school administrators, educators, staff, and parents if conducted by someone outside the district.
How do I get a price quote on materials for my school(s)?
The Hazelden Betty Ford Foundation is the leading publisher of evidence-based prevention programs and the exclusive publisher of the OBPP. Descriptions and pricing for implementation resources, the Olweus Bullying Questionnaire, classroom curriculum, and supplemental resources can be found on their website. For package options and pricing, contact your regional Hazelden sales representative or call (800) 328-9000.
Are there grants or other suggested funding sources for OBPP training and implementation?
Grants, whether federal, state, local, or from the foundation community can be used for training and implementation of the OBPP. Resources to assist with grant funding include the Hazelden Publishing website, a Funding Backpack listing possible funding sources and A Funding Toolkit to help develop grant proposals.
Is the Olweus Bullying Prevention Program a Social-Emotional Learning Program?
Although the OBPP is not necessarily thought of as a social-emotional learning (SEL) program, when looking at evidenced based bullying prevention and key features of effective SEL programs, you see many commonalities. Bullying prevention and SEL impact each other and both are key components for effective schoolwide universal prevention and intervention programs. SEL plays an important role within bullying prevention efforts, and within SEL instruction, an intentional focus on bullying prevention is critical for student well-being.
Bullying must be intentionally addressed as part of a school’s universal prevention program. If you implement a comprehensive bullying prevention program like the OBPP, SEL is addressed. However, simply implementing an SEL program does not intentionally address bullying, its prevalence, or the impact it has on youth. An evidence-based bullying prevention program also teaches how to appropriately intervene in a bullying situation, something not addressed in an SEL program.
The Olweus Bullying Prevention Program provides a framework for an effective, comprehensive approach to SEL:
- Creating a supportive learning environment
- Promoting positive interactions among and between adults and peers
- Focus on restructuring the school environment to reduce opportunities and rewards for bullying and on building a sense of community.
- Class meetings to specifically provide SEL instruction
View the Olweus Bullying Prevention and Social Emotional Learning crosswalk to learn more.
My school uses Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports (PBIS). Is it possible to implement both OBPP and PBIS in a school?
Yes! Both the Olweus Bullying Prevention Program (OBPP) and Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports (PBIS) can be part of a school’s overall prevention plan to address multiple student concerns. Both are evidence-based and provide a framework for organizing efforts to improve school climate. They have many similar foundational principles:
- The main responsibility for each program rests with adults.
- Clear and consistent messages should be present throughout the school.
- There is a focus on both short-term and long-term goals.
- Both are designed to become an everyday part of life at school.
- Students need to be taught about expected positive behaviors.
- Implementation is informed by data.
Through purposeful planning and consideration of commonalities, aligning and implementing both OBPP and PBIS can be done while maintaining fidelity to both models.
OBPP and PBIS are common schoolwide frameworks, but they offer different benefits to schools. The overall goal of PBIS is to create a positive learning environment where all students are successful. However, research has found that bullying problems in school cannot simply be addressed by working to create a positive school climate (Spriggs, et al., 2007; Bradshaw et al. 2003; OJJDP 2011). Programs to improve school climate are not enough and do not automatically create a change in prevalence of bullying incidents. Prevention and interventions to address bullying or victimization should be intentional and woven into the entire school environment to address bullying.
PBIS on its own does not intentionally address bullying prevention – that is where the OBPP comes in. PBIS establishes a social culture and provides supports to improve social, emotional, behavioral, and academic outcomes for students. The OBPP is a framework for creating systemic change to build a school climate that discourages bullying and addresses it effectively if it occurs. Implementing both with fidelity can help create a strong system of support for all students.
Read more about implementing both programs in the report Integrating the Olweus Bullying Prevention Program and Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports in Pennsylvania.
How are OBPP and PBIS aligned?
OBPP and PBIS share many common elements including coordination by a leadership team, training and coaching for staff, using a common language, setting behavioral expectations, establishing positive consequences, family involvement, and data-based decision making.
PBIS uses a three-tiered approach to improve learning and behavioral outcomes for students. The components of the OBPP fit neatly into that tiered structure. The OBPP is designed for students in elementary, middle, and high schools and involves all staff, students, parents, and the community in bullying prevention efforts. All students participate in the universal prevention (tier 1) aspects of the OBPP, while students who bully others and students who are bullied receive additional individualized interventions (tiers 2 and 3).
Tier 1: Universal prevention efforts delivered to the entire school population. The OBPP involves the entire school community in creating a positive school climate that will reduce existing bullying problems among students, prevent new bullying problems, and achieve better peer relations. The schoolwide, classroom, and community components of the OBPP are Tier 1 strategies.
Tier 2: Targeted support for additional teaching and practice opportunities. The comprehensive nature of the OBPP as a whole school framework supports student well-being by addressing bullying problems for students who are bullied, students who bully others, and students who witness bullying. Tier 2 strategies include increased supervision, on-the-spot interventions, and initial follow-up discussions held individually with students engaged in a bullying situation.
Tier 3: Intensive, individualized interventions to support students who continue to show patterns of bullying behavior or ongoing bullying victimization. Bullying intervention strategies may include an individualized safety plan and referrals to the school resource officer, the school intervention team, or to mental health providers. Depending on the severity and pattern of behavior, follow-up interventions may also be a tier 3 support.
Learn more about a multi-tiered approach to bullying prevention.
How can I donate or support the OBPP?
Bullying prevention efforts have the largest impact when schools and communities come together to provide support for safe and humane schools where every child has the right to an education without the fear of intimidation or being bullied. You can make a difference! Please see the Sponsorship Levels Document to find the giving level that’s right for you or your organization. Visit our website to support training and development of bullying prevention resources for schools and communities. You can also support bullying prevention efforts in your community by:
- Sponsoring lunch for participants attending a training
- Providing space for training events
- Providing assistance with outreach in your area by sharing the OBPP training announcements
How do I get permission to print something from the program materials or use the Hazelden and/or Olweus logo?
For answers to your questions about OBPP copyright or submitting permission requests, please access www.copyright.com or contact Copyright Clearance Center, Inc. (CCC), 222 Rosewood Drive, Danvers, MA 01923, 978-750-8400. CCC is a not-for-profit organization that provides licenses and registration for a variety of uses.
If you have questions or concerns about guidelines not being followed, please contact Hazelden Publishing’s permissions department at 651-213-4000.