Individual Presentation

First Presenter's Institution

Clemson University

Second Presenter's Institution

Clemson University

Third Presenter's Institution


Fourth Presenter's Institution


Fifth Presenter's Institution



Session 3 (Verelst)

Strand #1

Social & Emotional Skills

Strand #2

Safety & Violence Prevention


Schools free from bullying, where students feel safe, connected, and have a sense of belonging, provide environments which encourage a higher rate of student achievement and connection. Many risk and and protective factors for bullying parallel those for vulnerable youth considering dropping out of school.

Brief Program Description



Bullying and student dropout have both emerged as prominent social issues affecting the nation, and have been of particular interest in the media and in the political, economic, and educational arenas because of their high cost to society.

Pervasive teasing and bullying in a school may create a toxic school climate that induces school avoidance, disengagement, and eventually contribute to the decision to leave school prior to graduation. A pervasive climate of peer victimization may have a general effect on all students and not simply on those who are the immediate targets of aggression, so that there may be a school wide impact on dropout rates.

The disengagement of students from school is common for both students involved in bullying as well as students on the path to dropout, and involvement in bullying places a student at higher risk of dropping out of school due to decreased levels of engagement. Bully victimization begins to manifest itself in the negative behaviors of failing in school, disengagement and behavior problems; frequently, schools respond with punitive measures such as detention, suspensions and school transfers (Gastic, 2008).

Students who are in the process of dropping out of school may have a history of involvement in bullying of some form, and they deserve some level of intervention and support. Most previous research has concentrated on the impact of bullying in elementary and middle schools, but now studies suggest that teasing and bullying at the high school level is a noteworthy problem that is associated with the most serious negative outcome, failure to graduate. One policy implication is that high schools should make a systematic, school wide effort to reduce teasing and bullying and to promote more positive peer interactions.

This session provides participants with ten practical school wide strategies which help to ensure that students are connected, engaged, and have a sense of belonging to their school.


A study by Dr. Dewey Cornell from the University of Virginia demonstrates the link between bullying and dropout rates is not due to differences in student demographics, such as the number of students from low-income families. In his study within Virginia Schools, Cornell found that high levels of bullying in the school increased dropout counts from 18.6 students to 25.3 students in schools with high levels of low-income students and increased the dropout counts from 13.7 students to 18.6 students in schools with few low-income students. Other analyses showed that the effects of teasing and bullying were not due to the academic performance of the students. He found that student demographics and academic performance are indeed predictive of dropout rates, as is commonly known, but his study showed that bullying was predictive of dropout rates, independent of those other factors. Moreover, the effects associated with school climate were just as large as those associated with student demographics and academic performance. Academic performance is clearly important, but he recommends that schools trying to reduce their dropout rates pay more attention to the school climate and strive to create safer social environments for students.

Biographical Sketch

June Jenkins, M.Ed., is the Training-Consultation Coordinator for the Olweus Bullying Prevention Program/Safe and Humane Schools at Clemson University. She has more than twenty-five years of experience in K-12 education as teacher and administrator. In 2014, she retired as the Director of the Safe Schools/Healthy Students Project in Virginia which focused on community partnerships and prevention of risky behaviors of youth in 40 collaborative sites. She holds a Postgraduate Professional License from the Virginia and South Carolina Departments of Education in PK-12 administration and supervision. She completed a postgraduate certification in Positive Behavior Interventions and Supports through University of South Florida and is a Youth Mental Health First Aid Instructor. She serves on the Leadership Board of the SC-Association for Positive Behavior Supports Network. In 2005, June became a National Certified Trainer-Consultant in the Olweus Bullying Prevention Program and in 2010 became a Trainer-Certification Course (TCC) instructor. June is married and lives in the Upstate of South Carolina.

Keyword Descriptors

bullying, drop out, prevention, school climate, student connection, student engagement

Presentation Year


Start Date

3-4-2019 3:00 PM

End Date

3-4-2019 4:15 PM


Mar 4th, 3:00 PM Mar 4th, 4:15 PM

Connecting Bullying and School Drop Out

Session 3 (Verelst)