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College of Education Awarded Grant to Combat Bullying in Middle Schools

By: Brady W Moore   Published 3:34 pm / October 26, 2017

Aida Midgett (PI), associate chair and associate professor, and Diana Doumas (co-PI), professor and chair in the Department of Counselor Education in the College of Education, recently were awarded a $66,000 grant from the National Institute on General Medical Health to evaluate a bullying bystander intervention.

The team will be working with a rural, mixed-race middle school that is adapting a bystander bullying intervention program developed at Boise State to train middle school students what to do when they witness bullying at school.

A STAC training team in Jerome.

“With the recent attention given to incivility and bullying in the world today, it is fantastic to see faculty from the College of Education at Boise State providing leadership in the battle to reduce bullying and create a positive environment in our schools” said Rich Osguthorpe, dean of the College of Education.

According to Midgett, bullying represents a significant problem in the United States, with data indicating that more than 20 percent of students say they have been a victim of bullying.

“The rates of physical bullying and bullying-related injury peak during middle school and are more prevalent among Hispanic and students from low-income families. This is particularly significant as 15.3 percent of the public schools in the U.S. are classified as mixed-race with predominantly Hispanic students,” said Midgett.

Comprehensive, school-wide bullying prevention programs can place a high demand on schools because they often require significant time and financial resources. But the program developed by Midgett, called STAC, is a brief, stand-alone bystander program that teaches students strategies they can use to intervene in bullying situations as “defenders.” The program places a low demand on school personnel and can be adopted by a wide range of schools.

STAC stands for “stealing the show,” “turning it over,” “accompanying others,” and “coaching compassion,” four bullying intervention strategies.