Prevention of Bullying

Task Force Charge

Task Force on the Prevention of Bullying in Schools, Colleges, and Universities

Bullying is one of the more troubling issues in schools, colleges, and universities.  Bullying is the systematic use and abuse of power through different forms of aggression (e.g., relational, verbal, physical) by an individual or individuals against another individual that is face-to-face or through the use of technology.  Targets of bullying often have personal (e.g., disability, gender, sexual orientation, national origin, religion) or social characteristics (e.g., poverty, low social status, cultural practices) that contribute to their increased risk.  Research consistently documents significant adverse academic, social, and psychological short- and long-term effects for perpetrators, victims, and bystanders of bullying. 

Bullying – a form of harassment and violence – needs to be understood from a developmental perspective; the social contexts in which it occurs also need to be recognized.  The epicenter for bullying is schools, colleges, and universities.  Yet administrators, teachers, and related personnel frequently are not trained to address bullying and do not know how to intervene. 

The charge of the Task Force is to recommend educational policies pertaining to bullying that are informed by existing educational research.  The Task Force distinguishes itself from others that already have focused on psychological skills, psychological processes, and program interventions that do not always include the world of the educational organization.   The Task Force will link bullying research and intervention with the school reform, teacher education, administrator education, special education, and cultural diversity worlds within postsecondary schools, departments, and programs of education. 

The mandate of the Task Force is to prepare and present to the AERA Council practical short-term and long-term recommendations to address bullying of children and youth. These recommendations will address legislative, policy and procedural matters with pragmatic and practical strategies.  Thus, the goal of this Task Force is to develop research-based recommendations that ensure safe, respectful and productive educational environments where optimal learning occurs, while ensuring that individuals take responsibility for their own behavior and the impact that this behavior has on others.

Accordingly, this Task Force is charged with:  

(1) Identifying the causes and consequences of bullying in schools, colleges, and universities;

(2) Highlighting training and technical assistance opportunities so that faculty and staff at all types of educational institutions may effectively address bullying;

(3) Evaluating the effectiveness of current anti-bullying policies and bullying prevention programs; and

(4) Assessing the connections between bullying research and interventions and current and pending legislation.