Cyberbullying in schools: A research study on school policies and procedures
Brian Wiseman, University of Nevada, Las Vegas, United States
University of Nevada, Las Vegas . Awarded
A mixed-methods research design first using quantitative then qualitative data was used in order to explore what cyberbullying policies are being employed by principals in the state of Nevada. Electronic surveys were given to all 118 middle school principals in Nevada. Middle school was chosen because it is the age where cyberbullying behaviors are most prevalent. Out of the 118 surveys that were deployed, 66 principals responded. A series of independent t-tests and a chi-squared analysis was conducted using the survey data. The survey concluded by asking principals if they were willing to participate in a one-on-one interview regarding the cyberbullying policies at their schools. Ten principals agreed to participate in interviews, and three were randomly chosen. Results of the quantitative portion of the study revealed that student education, parent communication, school climate, language about off-campus behaviors, a known continuum of disciplinary consequences, formal procedures for investigating incidents, consequences for wrongful accusations, procedures for reporting cyberbullying, procedures for notifying parents of victims and perpetrators, procedures for referring victims and perpetrators for counseling, procedures for providing parent education, procedures for notifying the parents of the steps being taken to ensure the safety of their children, and signs being posted throughout the school should all be a part of an effective cyberbullying program.
Results of the qualitative portion of the study identified the following six major themes as being essential to an effective cyberbullying program: the importance of a reporting procedure; curriculum integration; student-centered productions through mediums such as Broadcast Journalism; a focus on prevention rather than solely on punishment; the importance of punishment as a part of an effective policy; and keeping up with changes in technology. Although the concept of cyberbullying is relatively new, at the present time, it already occurs in a different fashion than it did when it initially surfaced. With advances in technology, especially with the capabilities of Smart Phones, educators must understand all of the current trends in technology if they want to effectively face this problem.
Wiseman, B. Cyberbullying in schools: A research study on school policies and procedures. Ph.D. thesis, University of Nevada, Las Vegas.
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