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October 4, 2012

Host: Ted Simons

Anti-Bullying Expert

  |   Video
  • The keynote speaker at the October 5th “Anti-Bullying Summit” at ASU, Dr. Dan Olweus, is a professor of psychology and a world leader in research and developing intervention programs to address the problems of childhood bullying. He talks about his work and how to address problems with bullying.
  • Dr. Dan Olweus - Anti-Bullying Expert
Category: Community   |   Keywords: anti, bullying, anti-bullying, expert, ,

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Ted Simons: It is a question that never seems to go away. Why do some children appear to enjoy harassing and intimidating other kids? Bullying has always been with us, but in recent years, schools have focused on fighting back and elected officials are taking the problem seriously. Anti-bullying summit is taking place tomorrow on ASU's Tempe campus. It’s sponsored by stop bullying Arizona, an initiative led by Phoenix's first lady Nicole Stanton. And our next guest is the keynote speaker at the event, Dr. Dan Olweus, who developed the Olweus prevention program which is uses in more than a dozen countries and thousands of schools across the U.S. It is good to have you here, thank you for joining us.
Dr. Dan Olweus: Thank you.
Ted Simons: Let's start at the beginning. Define bullying.
Dr. Dan Olweus: Yes, well, typically three criteria for defining bullying. It is a negative behavior, aggressive, kind of aggressive, proactive behavior, and, second, it is typically repeated pattern or behavior, but it can be single episodes as well, but definitely some repetitiveness, and finally and maybe most important, there is a power imbalance between the perpetrator or perpetrators and the targeted, the victim. So these are the three basic criteria.
Ted Simons: So basically, you’ve got the power vacuum there or the power imbalance there. You’ve got aggression and you’ve got repeated action. Repeated action is that different in how bullying was categorized, we should say, in years' past?
Dr. Dan Olweus: I think it was never categorized really.
Ted Simons: Yeah.
Dr. Dan Olweus: So when I started in -- I did the first -- what is generally considered to be the first scientific study of bullying actually in the '70s, and it was published in the U.S. in 1978, both aggression in the schools and bullying in the schools and victims at school but anyhow, at that time, we had little knowledge to really define -- make a clear definition. Very soon afterwards, we had suicides in Norway, where I moved, and that -- and that is nationwide campaign, international campaign, and then it was important to develop a criteria. So, these criteria, I defined them then at that time, and gradually they have been very well accepted in research literature and among practitioners as well, but with the advent of cyber-bullying, there has been some concerns about do they really apply in the same way? And other things suggesting that this criteria can also be applied relatively well, but, of course, sometimes you have single episode, for instance, posting a negative video or something like that, which can be spread to a large audience. It is not repetitive in the ordinary sense. I think we need to do more research. But it is typically, I think, definition can be, probably used also for cyber-bullying.
Ted Simons: Could be determined as repetition if the video is seen by more than one person.
Dr. Dan Olweus: Exactly.
Ted Simons: Okay. So, who are bullies and how do they become bullies?
Dr. Dan Olweus: Yeah. We have a lot of information on that actually. So, one can say, first, maybe the important point -- if we start with the victims, they are typically children, youth, who are kind of cautious, sensitive, somewhat have difficulty asserting themselves maybe. But under certain circumstances, almost anybody can be a victim. And but and the bullies, they typically are aggressive, of course, which is implied hopefully, but also other forms of rule-breaking behavior. In school, they often break other rules and engage in more antisocial activities. The important thing what we have now, accumulating more knowledge of the long-term consequence of these things. So, the victims, we have no more than 30 studies for them-- school victims, what happens to them later, maybe six, 10 years later. And we see that they are still very much marked by that. They have much more problems with depression, anxiety, suicidal ideation and so on. And for the bullies, this rule breaking behavior follows many of them and in particular for boys, and they are much more over represented in crime activity. So, I have this study in Sweden where we follow up 800 boys from which went up to age 24, and we see then that 35% of them have at least three convictions by the age of 24. And the base rate is only 10%. Almost four-fold increase in relatively serious -- so this means that this has long term outcomes, long term consequences for the victims and for the bullies, and not just a passing school problem. Therefore, it has also public health implications very much so and costs to society, because both groups are over-consumers of the health and social services of society. So they will cost society a lot of money actually.
Ted Simons: We have a better definition of what bullying is. We kind of know who the bullies are and who are the victims are and who they may become. You developed a program. Talk about the program and talk about the best way to prevent bullying. Let's talk about schools mostly because that seems where it goes on the most.
Dr. Dan Olweus: Yeah, absolutely. This has been very much focused in the school. The first important, of course, who should have responsibility for stopping these behaviors? And when we started, the typical idea was that this is something that parents should address. Students themselves should address them, or it should be the school. But gradually -- research, gradual marked change in the view of how this – who’s responsibility it is. It is very clear that the main responsibility lies with the schools. We have kind of a social contact, you might say, parents provide their children and they have the right to expect that no child should be exposed to this kind of humiliating, degrading treatment. It is a violation of a fundamental human right actually. I think it is more and more accepted that it is really the school's responsibility, and legislation in the Scandinavian countries, in several states here also make it very clear that it is the school's responsibility. So, that is an important point, of course. What kind of program we have. This program was first developed in the 80s in the context of a nationwide campaign. We followed 42 schools over 2 1/2 years and we could see after eight months, work with the program, programs go down by 50% approximately. As the result being replicated in a number of -- we had more than 30,000 students involved in intervention projects and we can see why using this program in a systematic and with fidelity, you can get very considerable reductions.
Ted Simons: What does the program involve? We don't have much time left. Give us an overview of what you are targeting. What are you telling the schools?
Dr. Dan Olweus: Three different levels, at the school level, at the classroom level, and individual level. Of course important to have the principals be positive to do something, but the teachers are the key agents. At the school level, we know that much bullying occurs in the recess period. Must have good supervisor system with the adults out and ready to intervene. Classroom, school level, we introduce classroom rules or school rules against bullying. We don't bully in our schools. We should help children to get bullied. If we know someone who is bullied, tell an adult about that. If you have identified problems you must follow this up with very clear procedures of finding out this and make it clear to the bullies that this must stop and we will have some consequences, negative consequences if you don't follow these. This should be followed up in regular planned meetings, involving the parents often as well.
Ted Simons: Does that work? Does a kid, a bully, even a victim, when they hear about you should do this and should do that, these are kids. I don't want to be a snitch. I don't want to be seen as being weak. Does it really work?
Dr. Dan Olweus: That's what I say we now have replications and we have also now seven good projects in the U.S. actually, particularly in Pennsylvania, with more than 40,000, and we can see clear reductions, but in particular, I mean, you must have not only good program, you must have a good implementation model so that this becomes part of the everyday life of the school. Not just a single episode and sending the teachers on some course or something like that. It must be part of the everyday life of the school. It’s a changing school culturally.
Ted Simons: And response has been good so far from teachers, educators, parents?
Dr. Dan Olweus: Yeah, people who use it are very pleased with it and get very excited about it. So, and this summit I think is a good initiative really. It is a good start. It will take time to get this in good shape, but absolutely very important.
Ted Simons: We are looking at the web site right now. Anti-bullying summit scheduled for tomorrow at the Tempe campus, Arizona State University. You are the keynote speaker. It is good to have you here tonight. Thank you for joining us. We appreciate it.
Dr. Dan Olweus: Thank you.

U.S. Supreme Court Preview

  |   Video
  • ASU Law Professor Paul Bender provides a preview of key cases the U.S. Supreme Court will be hearing during its new term that started this week.
  • Paul Bender - Law Professor, ASU
Category: Law   |   Keywords: ASU, professors, law, Bender, Supreme court, preview, ,

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Ted Simons: We will hear about a plan to stop bullying from an international bullying prevention expert. Those stories next on "Arizona Horizon." Good evening. Welcome to "Arizona Horizon." I'm Ted Simons. Democratic state representative Ben Arredondo is expected to plead guilty tomorrow to federal charges involving for public corruption. Earlier this year he was indicted on allegations that he took tickets from sporting events from real estate developers in exchange to help facilitate land deals. The developers were FBI agents running a sting operation. He pleaded not guilty, but a change of plea hearing is set for tomorrow in U.S. district court. United States Supreme Court began the new session this week. With the new term comes another Arizona case to be considered. The high court has agreed to hear an Arizona death penalty case that will be argued by the state attorney general Tom Horne. Here to talk about that case and give us a preview of the court session, is ASU law professor Paul Bender. Always good to see you. Thanks for joining us tonight.
Paul Bender: Nice to see you too.
Ted Simons: Before we get to specifics, is this going to be a big session for the court?
Paul Bender: We don't know yet. One case that will be argued next week that is potentially very important, that’s a challenge to the affirmative action program of the University of Texas. There are on, the horizon, some cases that could be really important. Like gay marriage related cases but we don't know if they will take those or not. Even with the affirmative action case, you don't know whether the case will be a landmark case until it is decided and they write the opinion. Because the opinion can be very narrow or it can very broad.
Ted Simons: Interesting. Let's get to Arizona. It seems like we're always around as far as the --
Paul Bender: It does seem to be lately.
Ted Simons: Yeah, Ryan versus Gonzalez, death penalty case, involving what, competency.
Paul Bender: It is an interesting case. It is not terribly important except of course to the parties involved. It is an interesting issue. Death penalty case -- they have two of them. Another from the sixth circuit. Where the defendant went -- was convicted, went through the state post conviction remedies and is asking for federal habeas corpus. After he brings the federal habeas corpus petition, he becomes mentally incompetent. His lawyers go to court and say put this thing on hold because we need to consult with him in order to present his case. Because the issues in this federal habeas involve issues that he knows about, we were not his lawyers then. He has had 10 different lawyers. And so, it is important to have his cooperation. He can't cooperate because he doesn’t know what is going on. So, put this thing on hold until his mental condition improves, which may be never. In this case the 9th circuit held that it should be stayed until his mental health improves and if it never improves, they can't ever execute him.
Ted Simons: And that is the issue, is it not? You have a de facto were not going to impose a death penalty.
Paul Bender: That would be true if the 9th circuit decision stands. On the other hand, if you say, too bad. We're going to go ahead and hear the habeas and if in fact his participation would be helpful to him and he can't participate because of the mental condition, then that’s not fair to him. You may end up executing somebody who should not be executed. So it’s a dilemma for the courts. The 9th and 6th circuit both decided that you ought to stay the preceding, and lead it up to the district judge to find out one, if he is competent and two if his participation really helpful and necessary to his lawyers. And if he is incompetent and it is necessary, stay. If the issue is one that doesn’t involve him and his participation is necessary then don’t stay. The question is will the Supreme Court leave that up to the lower courts or will it say no, you can't do this because it is an indefinite state.
Ted Simons: Well, what do you think?
Paul Bender: I think they will say you can't do this. You have to go ahead with the proceeding. You can't indefinitely stay it. Maybe for a few months or a year, but if there is no real chance of him getting better, that you are not going to -- I don't think they will permit the lower federal courts to put off executions indefinitely.
Ted Simons: And that might mean executing someone who doesn't understand what’s happening.
Paul Bender: That is a different issue. If he really doesn't understand what is happening to him in the execution, why he is being executed, then you can't then you cannot execute him. Somebody in order to be executable has to understand what is going on. That is a different test is he competent enough to participate with his lawyers? He could understand enough to be executed but not understand enough of what is going on to help his lawyers. So, that is true ultimately you can't execute him that he is so out of it he doesn't know what is happening, but that is not the necessarily same thing as incompetent to help your lawyers.
Ted Simons: Interesting. Okay, a couple of Arizona lawyers may or may not be here, voter registration, the other domestic partner benefits. Do we know what’s going to happen with these two cases?
Paul Bender: Not yet, one of the cases was on the conference list last week. We thought the court would take it or deny it. They have not acted on it. That case involves the domestic partnership arrangement. Janet Napolitano when she was governor changed the rules and said state employees could get health benefits for their domestic partnerships, whether same-sex partnerships or different sex partnerships they could get health benefits. Governor Brewer did not like that and she changed that. The legislature has now passed a statute which says health benefits for state employees only go to the spouses and children, no domestic partners, either same-sex domestic partners or heterosexual domestic partners. That was challenged as a violation of the equal protection clause because it said that it is said that it discriminated against same sex couples and it had that affect. In the ninth circuit of panel opinion budget, Mary Shroeder who used to be chief judge held that it was unconstitutional, and there was a petition for rehearing which was denied. The court's most conservative judge wrote an opinion descending from the denial and saying that this is wrong. And I think the Supreme Court will take that case seriously mostly because it is a very interesting case. It is a difficult case to know what to do. The Supreme Court has never said that discrimination on the grounds of sexual orientation is a suspect kind of discrimination. They have always treated it as like any other kind of discrimination, subject to just a rationale basis test. All of the government has to show that is a reason for doing it, where a suspect classification, they have to have a compelling reason. And in this case, Mary Schroeder said they needed a compelling reason. The Supreme Court has never said that about discrimination against gays so later in the term the court will consider whether to take gay marriage related cases involving the federal defense of marriage act challenged or more or less the same grounds. I think there is a good chance they will hold this until they see what they want to do with those and then maybe take this and or even if they don't take it, hold it and decide the issue and apply it to this case. So, that’s a potentially important case.
Ted Simons: What about the voter registration?
Paul Bender: Voting registration case is on tomorrow's conference list. We should know by next Monday whether they are going to take that one or not. That is a challenge to proposition 200, I think it was, which requires you to have documentary proof of citizenship in order to register to vote. A lot of controversy about the identification requirements when you go to vote. This is not when you go to vote. This is when you go to register. 1993, the federal government passed a motor voter act, which was intended to make it easier to register to vote and they have to let you register when you register your car, get a driver's license. It is meant to make it very easy. It says as a federal form that has to be used by the state. And the federal form does not require documentary proof of citizenship. The state law requires documentary proof of citizenship. The question is whether that state law is preempted by the federal law. 9th circuit held that it was and that was an embank decision. I think there were only one or two descents. It seems to me that it is probably right and the court might deny it. On the other hand, it’s an issue that is interesting to people now and it’s a ninth circuit deciding a civil liberty, civil rights on the liberal side, so there is a very good chance the court will take that.
Ted Simons: All right, we’ll keep an eye on that. When you mentioned earlier as a big case, this is Fischer vs. the University of Texas, we're talking admission stuff. I thought all this stuff-- Wasn't there a Michigan case years ago?
Paul Bender: Not all that long ago. In 2003, Michigan law school case in which the Supreme Court opinion by Justice O'Connor, 5-4 opinion, held that law schools and other undergraduate institutions, educational institutions generally can use race as one of many factors in admission decisions in order to get a diverse class. That was a 5-4 decision. If that case had come up after Justice Leo replaced Justice O’Connor it would’ve come out the other way I think pretty clearly. So now, Justice Leo has replaced Justice O’Connor and one big question in that case is will the court overrule the, it’s called a Grutter case will they overrule it and say they did not say that you can never use race as a factor in admissions? There were four people who wanted to say that in 2003. There now may be five. On the other hand, we have a court led by a chief justice who said that he is not into overruling cases and he wants stability in the law. As you may remember at the end of the last term, he appeared to some people to be becoming a judicial statesman and he was going to bring the court together and stop the partisan bickering. It will be interesting to see whether that shows up here or whether the court will say we are going to overrule that case. We think it is wrong.
Ted Simons: As far as the Texas case is concerned, sounds as though, and correct me if I am wrong, state of Texas has already decided to accept the top 10% no matter who you are or what high school you are going to. Maybe diversity is already being shown.
Paul Bender: That's the narrow ground on which the court can and I think should, and may very well actually decide the case. That is when it looked like you could not use race at all because the 5th circuit where Texas is decided that you couldn't, University of Texas said, we had a plan which was struck down because it used race, but we really want diversity. They adopted a statute which says that if you are in the top 10% of your class at a Texas high school, you have a right to get into the University of Texas. Whatever campus you want to go to. That produced a lot of diversity. Ironically, that produced a lot of diversity because Texas has segregated schools. And so, you have a lot of segregated schools where minorities are almost the entire school. Top 10% of the class is very heavily minority. That resulted in a very substantial amount of diversity. And then when the Supreme Court decided in 2003 that you could use race in a limited way as a factor, Texas said well, we want to do that, too. Because we don't have as much diversity as we would like to have. It is true we have a fairly large percentage of Hispanics and blacks but they are at departments of the university where there is no diversity. And we would like to look at people applying and try to admit people who will diversify the economics, physics department and stuff like that. That is the issue. Are they entitled to when they have a lot of diversity, are they entitled to even when they already have a lot of diversity in the university as a whole, are they entitled to take race into account to make sure that different departments and majors and schools in the university are also diverse.
Ted Simons: What do you think is going to happen?
Paul Bender: I think chances are the court will decide on a narrow ground that they already have enough diversity and they can't use this. You can only use it when you don't have any. Four of them don't want to let you use race at all and I think Justice Kenny is the swing vote. He has been opposed to the use of race. I don't think he is ready to say you can never use race. I would think he would be the 5th vote for a narrow decision which says Texas can't do it because they already had it on a nonracial basis.
Ted Simons: Before we let you go, expecting fireworks any time during this? The last session closed with a bang. We talked about big cases earlier on. You mentioned this University of Texas case. Do you thinking any fireworks?
Paul Bender: There could be fireworks there. For example, if the court overrules the Grutter case and says suddenly, you can't use race at all. There will be people on the court who are very upset with that and they will let you know. And if the gay marriage issue comes up later, you could imagine the same could be true there.
Ted Simons: All right, it’s always good to see you. Thank you for joining us, we appreciate it.
Paul Bender: Same here, Ted.