Kansas schools to test Finnish anti-bullying program - KCTV5

Kansas schools to test Finnish anti-bullying program

Posted: Updated:
LAWRENCE, KS (KCTV) -

University of Kansas researchers are studying an anti-bullying program from Finland and plan to implement the initiative in some Kansas schools. 

During part of their school day, 4th grade students at Sunset Hill Elementary School in Lawrence, KS work on their music skills. Behind the playful smiles is mounting pressure to not only learn with less in a tough economy but to fit in and belong.

"We understand the long-term effects for both bullies and victims and even peers who witness these kinds of incidents, it can have some really negative consequences on their development," said Anne Williford, an assistant professor at KU School of Social Welfare.

Studies by stopbully.gov say as many as 35 percent of children report being bullied in school. These are staggering statistics that have researchers like Williford at The University of Kansas looking overseas to Finland for answers.

The program is called KiVa.

"In the trial itself, over 20,000 kids in Finland participated and in one recent study we found that bullying and victimization was reduced by about 50 percent," she said.

Researchers said the numbers speak for themselves. There is one major difference separating this program from so many other failed anti-bullying programs. The KiVa program doesn't just target and treat individual children – instead, it works to empower the student body as a whole.

"We've also found that the program has had positive impacts for other key outcomes for kids, academic performance, school commitment, over all well being in terms of physical health and emotional health," Williford said.

KU researchers are finishing the translation of the anti-bullying curriculum and finalizing grants before they launch a small pilot program in Lawrence school classrooms next fall.

It's an experimental effort to help children learn in an environment where they can concentrate on the work in front of them without being bothered by the children around them.

The Finnish program empowers the entire student body using interactive training methods like classroom lesson plans, posters, videos, computer games and role-playing exercises.

Copyright 2011 KCTV. All rights reserved.

Powered by Frankly
KCTV 5 News

Online Public File:
KCTV  KSMO

Powered by WorldNow CNN
All content © 2017, KCTV; Kansas City, MO. (A Meredith Corporation Station) . All Rights Reserved.
For more information on this site, please read our Privacy Policy, and Terms of Service, and Ad Choices.