Date of Award

Fall 2001

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education (EdD)


Curriculum, Instruction, and Leadership

First Advisor

Kathryn Matthew


Bullying, defined as the repeated exposure of a less powerful person to negative actions by a more powerful person or group of people, is a serious problem in schools. There are often severe negative consequences, both short-term and long-term, for both the victim and the bully. The attitudes of teachers play a major role in determining the extent and the acceptance of bullying in schools.

The purpose of this research was to investigate the perceptions of selected teachers in reference to bullying. Six teachers were chosen from regional and state teacher of the year competition during 1998–2000. In addition, six teachers who had not been recognized as teachers of the year from the same schools and comparable grade levels were asked to participate in the study. The teachers were interviewed using 16 questions specifically designed to provide in-depth information regarding each teacher's perceptions of the extent of the problem and successful intervention strategies implemented to eliminate the problem. In addition, the teachers were asked to supply pertinent demographic data. All responses were recorded in written and audiotape recorded format. The audiotapes were transcribed into verbatim accounts of each inquiry session. The researcher employed the grounded theory approach to the qualitative analysis of the data which showed that teachers had a limited understanding of bullying and its consequences.

Participants in the study stated that school violence could be caused by bullying and offered suggestions for eliminating this behavior. Teachers stated that they were not aware of any professional development activities on this topic, expressing a need for opportunities to learn more about this topic.

Given these findings, the researcher suggests the need for ongoing professional development activities on the topic for all teachers. Schools should conduct surveys of stakeholders to determine the extent of bullying within their own setting and implement school-wide interventions targeted at eliminating this type of behavior. Teachers should establish parameters for acceptable behavior at the very beginning of the school term, conveying the message that bullying will not be tolerated. Teachers need to make an effort to get to know their students as individuals and demonstrate that they, as teachers, value diversity within the classroom and school. Teachers are the key in that they set the parameters for what is acceptable behavior, determining whether bullying is allowed to continue.