Date of Conferral





Public Policy and Administration


Bethe Hagens


U.S. school bus drivers witness bullying on their buses on a regular basis but are often not consulted on how to prevent bullying or how to maintain a safe environment. Over 24 million U.S. student passengers ride school buses daily, yet the voices of bus drivers have been inadequately represented in the development of school bullying policies. The purpose of this phenomenological study was to examine the lived experience of 12 active school bus drivers and their perceptions of bullying on the bus, driver training programs, school antibullying policies, and other mandated procedures developed for bus drivers. The conceptual framework combined Bandura's social learning theory and Bronfenbrenner's social ecological systems model. Data were sorted into 14 themes from semistructured interviews that were coded and analyzed using Moustakas's methodology of bracketing personal opinion, horizonalization, and privileging rich textural description in participants' language. Findings indicated that these bus drivers do feel supported by school administrators, but they lack continuous training, rely on experience over training, are subject to intimidation and threats by students and parents, and seek greater communication with student support groups. Positive social change implications include recommendations to school district administrators to develop driver antibullying training which takes into account all components of passenger safety. Findings support development of administrative policy mandating a direct, ongoing channel of communication between drivers and school administrators to assure antibullying policy implementation fidelity.