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Helping Kansas schools address bullying

Friday, October 25, 2013

Although Kansas law requires elementary and secondary schools to have an anti-bullying policy, the schools often struggle to translate this legal obligation into effective policies and practices that address the pervasive problem.

But a team of University of Kansas researchers is developing a model policy that will help schools across the state clearly define bullying and implement strategies for dealing with bullying and related issues.

Anne Williford, assistant professor of social welfare, is the principal investigator for the project, funded by a grant from the Kansas Department of Education.

“Our goal is to create a model anti-bullying policy that individual schools can then tailor to their unique needs,” Williford said. “We know that schools sometimes struggle to identify, track, and address incidents of bullying, so we want to create user-friendly resources.

“Specifically, we want to provide training for school personnel, create a Web-based resource for school districts, and provide technical assistance to school staff. We’ll also provide schools with recommendations for addressing the all-too-common consequences of bullying, particularly for victims, like social and emotional difficulties that may require further supports to be put in place.”

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