Date of Conferral
Public Policy and Administration
School bullying has become a serious issue in U.S. schools, with children being harassed, hurt, and even killed or driven to suicide or homicide as a result of being bullied. Bullying in schools has persisted despite the various intervention measures taken to curtail the phenomenon. The purpose of this phenomenological exploration was to explore how teachers and principals at a U.S. middle school perceive the school's existing bullying programs and elicit recommendations about how to improve the programs. The theoretical basis of this investigation was Bandura's social learning theory. Data were collected through interviews with 4 principles and 6 teachers. Interview data were transcribed, and then coded and analyzed using a modified Van Kaam procedure, as revised by Moustakas. Nine themes emerged from the data analysis that encompassed participants' perceptions of the causes of bullying and how teachers and principals can help to prevent bullying. The key finding is that teachers reported that more professional training to reduce bullying is needed. Additionally, social learning theory is explanatory of participant experiences as they noted that encouraging positive behavior, kindness, and empathy in the classroom will help minimize bullying conduct in schools. This study may foster societal change by providing insight to educational leaders about how to improve antibullying programs, which may lead to reductions in school dropout rates, incidents of homicide and suicide as a result of school bullying, and other antisocial behaviors associated with school bullying.