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Abstract

Bullying is a problem that has been studied in schools worldwide, but there is little research on bullying within Christian schools, a dearth which may stem from the assumption that Christian schools teach character traits that are inimical to bullying. Yet understanding the extent and nature of bullying in Christian schools may lead to a better understanding of ways to address the problem in all schools. Guided by social identity theory, which allowed for a focus on moral and character development, this study examined the extent and nature of bullying among 347 students in Grades 3 through 10 in a Christian school. Research questions addressed differences in bullying behaviors related to gender, grade, division, and the number of years a student has attended a Christian school. Data were analyzed from responses to the Olweus Bullying Questionnaire. One-way ANOVAanalysis of variance, chi-square, and t t tests indicated statistically significant differences in bullying behaviors based on gender, division, and years attending the school. Results indicated that girls were bullied more frequently than boys and by means of exclusion, rumors, sexual comments, and cyber bullying. Boys were more likely to bully than girls, and boys bullied primarily in physical ways and used racial comments more often than did girls. Bullying decreased from elementary to high school grades. The results of this study may be used to promote positive social change by alerting Christian school educators to the problem of bullying in their schools, and by assisting all educators in developing gender-specific programs to minimize the problem of bullying in general.