Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

Trajectories of parents' experiences in discovering, reporting, and living with the aftermath of middle school bullying
by Brown, James Roger, Ph.D., Indiana University, 2010, 264; 3409133
Abstract (Summary)

Bully victimization takes place within a social context of youths’ parents, peers, teachers, school administrators, and community. Victims often rely on parents, educators, or peers for support. However, there is a gap in the literature in understanding parents’ experiences of what occurs before, during, and after reporting bullying to school officials. Therefore, this dissertation study examined parents’ experiences in discovering, reporting, and living through the aftermath of their child being bullied. This study used a purposeful sample that was criterion-based. Nine mothers and one mother/father pair were tape-recorded using face-to-face semi-structured interviews. Follow-up phone interviews followed. Key themes and patterns were analyzed using the philosophical method of interpretive phenomenology based on Heidegger’s philosophy of being. Exemplars were used to illuminate several themes.

Results suggest three unique stages. In the first stage, discovery, parents often noticed psychosocial changes in their child related to bullying. Parents often responded initially by providing advice to their children. When signs of their schoolchildren being bullied persisted, parents decided to report the incidents to school officials. Nine parents reported incomplete interventions that let their youths’ victimization continue. One parent, a paradigm case, shared understandings of how her son’s school official provided a full intervention that was restorative. However, all other parents who received an incomplete intervention found themselves rethinking how to protect their children from bullying. In this aftermath, several parents moved their children out of the school into a new district or began to home school. However, half the parents were left unable to move their child and therefore could not provide protection. Indiana’s anti-bullying law was unknown to eight parents and was unsuccessful in leveraging protection for one parent who used it with school officials as a threat. School official’s responses to bullying were incongruent with student handbook procedures. Recommendations from a parent’s perspective indicate school officials must: (1) have a clear process in place for parents to report, (2) follow through by calling parents back with results from investigating and procedures that will be taken to intervene, and (3) call the bullies’ and victims’ parents to notify what has occurred and what will be done to ensure safety. Discussed are implications for school officials, social workers, and state policymakers.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Adamek, Margaret E.
Commitee: Aalsma, Matt C., Blackman, Lorraine, Chang, Valarie N., Chism, Nancy, Sloan, Rebecca S.
School: Indiana University
Department: Social Work
School Location: United States -- Indiana
Source: DAI-A 71/07, Dissertation Abstracts International
Source Type: DISSERTATION
Subjects: Social work, School administration, Social studies education
Keywords: Bully victimization, Bullying, Middle school bullying, Parent reporting, Parent responses, Parents perspectives of school officials responses, School officials responses
Publication Number: 3409133
ISBN: 9781124062051
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