Date of Award

2018

Document Type

Open Access Dissertation

Department

Educational Studies

Sub-Department

College of Education

First Advisor

Doyle Stevick

Abstract

Effective bullying prevention programs are essential for schools, particularly with respect to students with disabilities (SWD). Improving the preparedness of counselors, special education teachers and principals can advance efforts to recognize and to address the bullying of students with disabilities. Unfortunately, schools’ disciplinary processes and procedures are often complex and diffuse, and school stakeholders often know little about preventative methods for bullying and supportive measures for the victims. The purpose of this study was to examine the perceptions of counselors, special education teachers and principals in middle schools on their preparedness to be effective anti-bullying policy actors. This research is based upon Albert Bandura’s Social Cognitive Theory (SCT), which argues that individual thoughts, motivation and actions are rooted in whether they believe they can or cannot perform a task. This qualitative, phenomenological study examined the perceptions of three counselors, three special education teachers and three principals, one each from three middle schools, on their school’s anti-bullying programs. Data were generated from interviews, document review, and a survey of the participants. The findings addressed the teachers’ perceptions of their lack of knowledge and strategies working with bullying in general and bullying students with disabilities. Further, the participants felt that they were effective in preventing bullying and intervening in bullying situations. Insights from this study will benefit school leaders in implementing anti-bullying programs.

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