Bully prevention, peer mediation and conflict resolution: impact of prevention programs on reducing school suspensions



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Kansas State University


Previous research examined various factors of program design, specific program curriculum, and student and faculty attitudes, but repeated studies and methodology questions have been raised with some of the research. Much of the research in the field has examined specific program effectiveness where the researcher is the author of the program or curriculum being used. This study examines the effects of programs designed to reduce school violence and the impact they have on reducing out of school suspensions (injury and non-injury). The three programs examined are bully prevention programs, peer mediation programs, and conflict resolution programs used in middle schools. This study does not focus on a specific curriculum, but has chosen independent measures that have been identified to reduce out of school suspensions. The independent variables for this study are: 1) type of programming, 2) number of lessons being taught, 3) administration, 4) counselor to student ratio, and 5) interaction effects. The research questions guiding this study were: 1) Which, if any, violence prevention programs are used in middle schools in the state of Kansas? 2) Is there a main effect for violence reduction program on violent incidents resulting in out of school suspensions (injury and non-injury) reported? 3) Is there a main effect for the number of counselors to students on the number of violent incidents resulting in out of school suspensions (injury and non-injury) reported? 4) Are there main effects or interaction effects for number of lessons and method of administration on the number of violent incidents resulting in out of school suspensions (injury and non-injury) reported? 5) Are there interaction effects for violence reduction program and each of the following variables: counselor to student ratio, number of lessons, and method of administration?
All 231 middle schools in the State were surveyed to obtain information regarding type of prevention programs being offered and how these programs are administered. The return of 129 surveys resulted in a data set of 122 schools participating once incomplete surveys were eliminated. State Department of Education data from the Discipline Incident System provided the dependent variable data on school suspensions (injury and non-injury) for a three year period from 2008-2011. The only significant finding related to schools that had a counselor to student ratio of less than 1:500. These schools reported significantly fewer out-of-school suspensions (injury and non-injury) than those schools with a counselor to student ratio of more than 1:500. The findings from this study will provide middle schools with data to improve violence prevention programming.



Prevention Programming, Bully Prevention, Middle School, School Counseling

Graduation Month



Doctor of Philosophy


Department of Special Education, Counseling and Student Affairs

Major Professor

Linda P. Thurston