Date of Award

5-7-2016

Degree Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Education (EdD)

Department

Educational Policy Studies

First Advisor

Dr. Janice Fournillier

Second Advisor

Dr. James Kahrs

Third Advisor

Dr. Natalie Grubbs

Abstract

Repeated instances of bullying plague schools and immobilize the learning environment for many students. Dissimilar views of policies related to bullying make it difficult for school personnel to consistently intervene on behalf of the victim. The purpose of this case study was to bring awareness to the diverse perceptions school personnel have concerning bullying and the constraints those perceptions place on implementing policies and practices set forth by the school. This qualitative case study examined the understanding and knowledge that school personnel had about bullying policies and practices at three private/independent middle schools in the metro Atlanta area. The research questions addressed were: What are school personnel’s understandings of the bullying policies at their school? What were their perceptions of bullying within their school? How does school personnel’s perception of bullying impact their efforts to intervene? Participants for the study included 3 middle school principals, two deans of students, three counselors and nine teachers. Data collected through interviews, non-participant observations, and documentation provided by each school yielded findings that clarity and awareness of bullying policies and practices were not always apparent. Additionally, varying perceptions of bullying impacted intervention efforts by school personnel. The study revealed the need for a clear and concise definition of bullying, along with policies and practices that address the issue. Additionally, school leaders need to monitor and hold school personnel accountable to address bullying consistently within the school.

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