Maine DOE partnering in national study to evaluate the effectiveness of anti-bullying law in Maine

The Maine Department of Education (DOE) and the Maine Center for Disease Control are taking part in a study to evaluate the efficacy and implementation of anti-bullying laws in partnership with the University of Minnesota’s School of Public Health and with Columbia University, the University of Iowa and Temple University.

The study will evaluate the effectiveness of anti-bullying laws passed in the United States since 1999. In addition, researchers will study how the anti-bullying law is being implemented in the state of Maine to inform anti-bullying legislation that could affect educators, state and local agencies, legislators and students and families.

“This valuable partnership will help to ensure that Maine's anti-bullying law is effective in promoting the safety of Maine’s students,” said Robert G. Hasson, Jr., Ed.D., Maine DOE Commissioner.

In 2013, Maine passed a comprehensive anti-bullying law with new requirements for schools, including the implementation of a bullying incident-reporting system.

Maine is one of only four states that require the state DOE to provide a model policy to schools.

To maximize the effectiveness of this provision, Maine’s DOE will grant researchers a unique opportunity to conduct surveys with school administrators and school counselors across the state to learn how schools are adopting the state’s model policies and whether these implementation factors affect youth violence outcomes.

To understand both the challenges and the successes in bullying prevention, researchers want to hear the viewpoints of all types of school districts and staff with various levels of experience.

Six schools representing rural and urban communities in Maine have been selected to participate in this opportunity. Confidential interviews will take place with a superintendent, principal and school counselor in charge of anti-bullying activities at each school (a total of 18 interviews).

The information that the selected school leaders and staff share in the study will help identify supports needed for all schools.

The study group will use the results of the conversations, which will be kept confidential, to form an online survey that will be administered to all Maine schools in the spring of 2018 and the spring of 2019.

Results will also be summarized in a research report that will be available to the public.