Date of Conferral



Doctor of Education (Ed.D.)




Tammy Hoffman


Guided by Premack and Woodruff's theory of the mind and Bandura's social learning theory, this qualitative study examined the issue of bullying at school, and whether teachers' childhood experiences of bullying had effects on how they, as adults, handled bullying situations in their classrooms. Convenience sampling was used to administer the Bauman, Rigby, and Hoppa Handling Bullying Questionnaire to 22 middle school educators with three or more years of teaching experience at the participating school, to determine their responses to bullying scenarios. Twelve educators completed the questionnaire. Data collected from the questionnaire were analyzed for frequencies of responses. Teachers' responses to how they might handle bullying appeared similar across the sample for most items, indicating that they would intervene and communicate the concern. Six of the 12 educators voluntarily agreed to be interviewed to gain a deeper understanding of how they manage bullying situations at school and whether they thought bullying incidents experienced as a child affected their responses as teachers. Interview data were transcribed and analyzed using open and selective coding to identify common themes. Two of the participants reported being bullied as children; however, they did not report an effect of that childhood bullying on their current handling of bullying at school. Interview participants also reported the need for training related to protocols for addressing bullying at school. The findings led to the development of a professional development series, Recognize, Respond, and Reduce, which can create positive social change by equipping teachers to handle bullying in their classrooms. By preparing teachers to respond to bullying, school leaders may create a safer learning environment for students, teachers, and the community as a whole.