Date of Graduation

2018

Document Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Education (Ed.D.)

College/School

School of Education

Department

Leadership Studies

Program

Organization & Leadership EdD

First Advisor

Patricia Mitchell

Second Advisor

Walter Gmelch

Third Advisor

Jane Beasdale

Abstract

Every child has a right to feel safe at school. The highest prevalence of bullying occurred in middle school grades 6 through 8. In a school environment, bullying can inhibit student learning, as it may cause a great deal of pain, anxiety, and stress for the victim. Bullying and aggressive behavior have negative effects on student learning and students’ attitudes toward school. The occurrence of bullying can change the expectation of security in a school climate. Schools need to teach acceptance toward all differences, an appreciation of diversity, and the significance of various collective customs and social characteristics that all live together in the same school environment.

The purpose of this study was to investigate the issues of bullying behavior in grades 6-8 in Catholic schools in the Pacific and Mountain States in the United States. A survey-method approach was used for the 282 participates from 9 different states. The investigation looked at how students get along with their peers and how they feel about various forms of bullying. The researcher assessed what Catholic middle school students’ thoughts and feelings are about their peers, teachers, and staff that support students who are bullied.

The Ecological Model of Child Development was applied to this research. This model explains the characteristics of a child who is the bully, the students who are bullied, the bystanders, the school staff, the school environment, and the child’s perceptions. The benefits of an approach that includes families, peers, neighborhoods, and social and environmental aspects can present a better understanding of this problem. There is a need in schools to see bullying as a range of behaviors rather than merely labeling the bully.

Catholic middle school students felt their school was important and a good place to be. The research showed that the majority of students do not encourage others to hurt weaker students. More than half the participants stated that they do not tell lies or make fun of others on the Internet. Student-victims felt more support from their teachers than from their peers. Bullying was explored through the lens of social justice.

COinS