Date of Award

1-2018

Document Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

College/School

College of Education and Human Services

Department/Program

Counseling and Educational Leadership

Thesis Sponsor/Dissertation Chair/Project Chair

Leslie Kooyman

Committee Member

Larry Burlew

Committee Member

Harriet Glosoff

Committee Member

Michele Knobel

Abstract

This is a qualitative study which investigated the reported experiences of adult to adult bullying by other certified school professionals in a K-12 New Jersey public school setting. The study focused on: 1.) How bullies bully; 2.) The behavioral, psychological, somatic, and career manifestations for the targets of bullying; 3.) The support or lack of support experienced by those who were bullied; 4.) Characteristics of school and school district cultures; and, 5.) Survival techniques used by the bullying targets.

The main findings of this study are described here. First, adult to adult bullying by professionals in schools can take many forms and is a traumatic event. Bullying behaviors as reported by participants took the form of harassment, formal observational and evaluative impacts, ostracism, direct and public comments, cyberbullying, and sexual harassment. A second finding was that many targets experienced severe somatic and psychological complaints, some of which lasted for long periods of time (up to two years). They worried that having been bullied would impact career options, but this was largely found not to be so, with the majority of the participants being hired for, and being successful in, other positions. Supports and school cultures greatly impacted the targets’ abilities to decide to leave or to remain in the same school district. The final finding involves how the subjects of bullying behaviors survived their experiences. Most made sense of what was occurring and de-personalized the actions of the perpetrators, many left the situation in which they were being bullied, and others developed new approaches and new skills for dealing with the bullying experience. All of these results contribute to the literature and, hopefully, will lead to schools which are more kind and more gentle institutions for the adults who work there and the students who learn there.

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