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The information provided above is only a generalized description of bullying in schools. You must combine this general information with a more specific understanding of your school's problem. Analyzing a school's problem carefully will help you design a more effective response strategy. Police who work with schools may even find that many of the thefts, assaults and batteries, hate crimes, and threats on school campuses (elementary, middle and high school level) are symptoms of bullying and are perpetrated by a small percentage of chronic tormentors.
The problem of bullying requires extensive surveying of those affected. It is recommended that police link with local colleges, universities or researchers to prepare and pretest survey instruments. Internationally valid questionnaires, adapted from Olweus' questionnaires, are available to survey students, classroom teachers and other staff involved in managing bullying problems. These have been used as part of a comparative project in Japan, Norway, England, the Netherlands, and the state of Washington, and require written permission for use from Dan Olweus (Research Center for Health Promotion, Christies Gate 13, N-5015, Bergen, Norway). The value of using these questionnaires is the ability to make comparisons among a wide range of other sites. If you use anonymous written surveys of students, it is important to develop some other means for gathering information from students on the specific identities of chronic victims and chronic bullies. Once gathered, compare this information with that in school records and with teachers' observations to see if there is some agreement. For additional information on bullying surveys, also see the European Commission's TMR Network Project on bullying, involving collaboration among five European countries.
The following are some critical questions you should ask in analyzing your particular problem of bullying in schools, even if the answers are not always readily available. The answers to these and other questions will help you guide the school in choosing the most appropriate set of responses later on.
You should encourage the school to measure its bullying problem before implementing responses, to determine how serious the problem is, and after implementing them, to determine whether they have been effective. Measurement allows school staff to determine to what degree their efforts have succeeded, and suggests how they might modify their responses if they are not producing the intended results. For more detailed guidance on measuring effectiveness, see the companion guide to this series, Assessing Responses to Problems: An Introductory Guide for Police Problem-Solvers. The following potentially useful measures of the effectiveness of responses to bullying should be taken using before-andafter surveys:
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