Aida Midgett, Boise State College of Education professor and chair of the Department of Counselor Education and Diana Doumas, professor and director for the Institute for the Study of Behavioral Health and Addiction, received $1.7 million from the National Institutes of Health to translate their trademarked anti-bullying intervention program into a technology-based format that can reach students in more schools, including in rural areas and to speakers of both English and Spanish.
Midgett developed and trademarked the program in 2020 as a low-cost, direct way to teach students to recognize bullying and how to intervene. The program is referred to as STAC and stands for, “stealing the show,” “turning it over,” “accompanying others,” and “coaching compassion.”
The program reduces time and labor-intensive training for already overburdened staff in schools.
Based on research done in the first two stages of the project, Midgett and Doumas plan to design the final technology-based version to be a user-centered, media-rich dual-language online training that administrators can scale to a large number of middle schools at a relatively low cost.
“The original program was designed to teach students strategies that are intuitive and age-appropriate so they can feel empowered to intervene when they witness bullying,” Midgett said. “The technology-based program has the potential to reach more students, particularly those in rural and low-income communities.”
Research shows that students in grades six through nine are particularly vulnerable to bullying at school and online. The consequences of bullying are magnified for students in low-income and under-resourced areas. The research also shows bullying negatively affects both victims’ and witnesses’ mental health, and teaching bystanders through easily accessible age-appropriate training programs can reduce harm for all involved.
“Because this program will be delivered through a technology-based format, it has the potential to have a significant impact on reducing bullying and the associated negative consequences in schools that do not have the resources to purchase in-person programs,” Doumas said.