A descriptive study of the perceptions of superintendents of schools in the State of Texas regarding recent court decisions and the effectiveness of their own school board policy on student bullying behavior
Bullying is a problem in our schools. Bullying behavior was easier to curtail when it was face-toface, but now, through the Internet, Bullying has transmogriphied into a form that one cannot escape. Hurtful and hate-filled messages printed in perpetuity. The messages torment victims twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week. Many victims, unable to endure the pain and embarrassment, have chosen to take their own lives. Death is often seen by the victims as the only escape from their tormentors. Schools, the society in which young adults live, are a microcosm of the greater society. One of the problems associated with bullying is that the epithets and accusations are projected beyond the school house gate. There are no safe places to hide. The escalated problems, not to mention the number of deaths in recent years, suggest that perhaps heads of schools are not taking bullying seriously enough. Therefore, the purpose of this study was to explore the perceptions of superintendents of schools on the subject of bullying. The Researcher used a self-administered, fifty-one item Likert-type questionnaire to gather data related to superintendents’ knowledge and understanding of state and federal legislation, specific legal decisions, and general questions on local school board policy. The population included all public school superintendents (N=887) in the State of Texas of which the sample was ten percent (n=90). Findings suggest that school superintendents in Texas believe their school board policies are sufficient to control bullying but more emphasis must be given to the development of policies and school rules regarding cyber-bullying and sexting. Some superintendents were unsure of the specific requirements of Texas Education Code with respect to bullying and Title IX as it relates to harassment in schools. Most respondents were unaware of recent legal decisions pertaining to bullying and bullying prevention. Few expressed ideas as to how decisions impacted practices in their districts. When viewed through the lens of social justice, eradicating bullying from schools has become a mandate. Marshall and Oliva (2010) believe that social justice in schools requires that leaders take action to bring change to the structures that allow injustices to flourish.
July 2, 2014
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