The Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention (OJJDP) has released Peer Victimization in Schools: A Set of Quantitative and Qualitative Studies of the Connections Among Peer Victimization, School Engagement, Truancy, School Achievement and Other Outcomes,
Conducted by the National Center for School Engagement in 2007, the OJJDP-funded study focused on the connection between bullying, truancy and low academic achievement and examined whether engaging students in academics or extracurricular activities mediates these factors.
Bullying does not directly cause truancy, researchers found. A caring school community where students are challenged academically and adults support them can serve as a powerful antidote. Victimization often distances students from learning and contributes to a myriad of other problems, including truancy and academic failure.
The researchers found "bullying in a box" curricula—generic, pre-fabricated anti-bullying curricula—to be an ineffective substitute for intentional, student-focused engagement strategies.
The researchers further recommended these strategies for schools:
- Offer mentoring programs;
- Provide students with opportunities for community service;
- Address the difficult transition between elementary and middle school (from one single classroom teacher to teams of teachers with periods and class changes in a large school); and
- Start prevention programs early.
The report examines the relationship among bullying, school attendance, school engagement, and school achievement; presents survey findings of young adults bullied in grade school; provides teachers' observations on efforts to ameliorate school bullying; and compares findings to existing research on bullying.