Date of Conferral







Hedy Dexter


Many lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and questioning (LGBTQ) students in rural schools experience verbal and physical harassment due to their sexual orientation, which leads to higher rates of substance abuse, psychological problems, and greater academic failure when compared to their heterosexual counterparts. Because of the high percentage (81%) of LGBTQ students in rural schools experiencing bullying incidents, it is important to explore how the attitudes and perceptions of professional school staff influence the implementation of intervention strategies to prevent bullying in rural schools. The purpose of this qualitative case study was to gain insight into, and knowledge of, professional school staff's experiences with implementing intervention strategies designed to prevent bullying of LGBTQ students in a rural high school in a northeastern state. The theoretical framework was based on Albert Bandura's social cognitive learning theory, with a focus on collective efficacy. A qualitative case study design was used, with purposeful sampling of 9 professional school staff from a rural high school who have experienced or are familiar with LGBTQ student bullying and intervention strategies. The data were analyzed and coded to identify categories and themes. The results of this study indicated that, although there is limited training and exposure to the LGBTQ population in this rural setting, all 9 school staff were supportive of, and willing to help, their LGBTQ students. These findings have implications for positive social change by supporting collaboration to address antibullying policy and training and education programs to end bullying for all American students.