Term of Award

Summer 2005

Degree Name

Doctor of Education in Educational Administration

Document Type and Release Option

Dissertation (restricted to Georgia Southern)

Committee Chair

Michael D. Richardson

Committee Member 1

Cordelia D. Zinskie

Committee Member 2

Mary H. Jackson

Committee Member 3

James F. Burnham


Although bullying has long been acknowledged as a part of American culture, the phenomenon became of increasing interest to the public after being linked as a causative factor to extreme school violence as well as psychological, social, academic and health problems in children.

This study involved an investigation of teacher beliefs regarding bullying. Specifically, this study sought to determine what behaviors teachers consider to be bullying, how often bullying behaviors occur at their school, how serious they consider bullying behaviors to be in their schools, how likely they are to intervene in bullying behaviors and if these beliefs varied by the grade level assignment of the teacher.

The study was conducted in one metropolitan school district in the southeastern United States during the winter of 2005. The 375 participants were regular education teachers assigned to kindergarten through 12th grade classrooms. Data were collected using a researcher developed questionnaire that consisted of four scales each using a Likert scale format.

Frequencies and percentages were calculated for all data. Means and standard deviations were calculated for each item on each scale. Items were then ranked by scale to assist in answering the research questions. An independent t-test was used to determine whether the teacher beliefs varied by grade level.

Findings indicate that teachers are more likely to view direct physical or verbal acts as bullying than indirect acts, in addition, physical acts are more likely to be considered bullying than verbal or indirect acts. In terms of occurrence, teachers repoit that verbal bullying occurs most often although physical bullying occurs with some frequency. Teachers consider physical bullying acts to be the most serious and to require intervention more often than verbal or indirect bullying acts. Comparisons by grade level revealed that elementary teachers were more likely to consider indirect bullying actions as bullying. They also considered indirect acts as more serious and believe that they require intervention more often than middle/high school teachers. Other findings indicate that bullying of all types is more likely to occur on middle/high campuses than on elementary campuses.

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