Date of Conferral

2015

Degree

Ph.D.

School

Human Services

Advisor

Dorothy Scotten

Abstract

Bullying in American schools has increased to what some have considered an epidemic and is a major problem among youth. Bullied youth experience poorer mental health and lower school performance, in comparison to those who are not bullied, and the growth of bullying has raised concerns from parents, schools, policy makers, and human-services professionals interested in prevention and intervention of bullying behaviors. The purpose of this study was to explore how parents whose children experienced school bullying perceived school administrators, teachers, antibullying school policies or programs, and their familyâ??s dynamics, to better understand the parentsâ?? internal experiences. The theoretical framework for this study was the symbolic interactionism theory, which posits that individuals develop subject meanings of themselves and their world, based on their experiences. A phenomenological study design was employed, using purposeful semistructured interviews of 7 parents of different schools, all of whom had witnessed bullying in their childrenâ??s lives. Data were open coded and analyzed for emergent themes. The study showed that these 7 parents were not satisfied with their respective schoolâ??s approach to handling bullying, especially when their home environments were adversely impacted. One recommendation that stemmed from these findings was to establish sanctions for schools failing to adhere to bullying policies. This study may provoke positive social change in the area of school safety and in areas concerning improved understanding and communication among parents, teachers, school administrators, and other professionals. Along with this notion, students may have the opportunity to thrive in a more secure atmosphere, which may lead to positive social and emotional achievements that may promote higher societal achievements.

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