The problem of bullying has recently become elevated to national prominence (Fegenbush, 2010). This study attempts to delineate the differences in students’ and educators’ perceptions of bullying with a view to contributing to the devising of more efficient methods of combating thereof. Following Bronfrenbrenner (1994), the study makes use of an ecological human development model, with causal links established between contextual aspects of bullying and its specific expressions.
The following research questions were addressed in the course of the study: relative frequency of specific bullying types (verbal, physical or relational) from students’ and educators’ point of view; bullying locations; differences in the types of bullying with respect to gender, ethnicity, etc.; differences in school climate perception based on the latter’s perceptions.
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The study has been conducted through collecting and reviewing data from 6 statistically significant Los Angeles County public schools, with cross-sectional research design implemented. An Olweus Bully/Victim Questionnaire (OBVQ; Olweus, 2007) was provided to the statistically valid sample of the 9th to 12th grade students in these schools. In addition, respective questionnaire was provided to their teachers.
In total, the study found that students’ and educators’ bullying perceptions are significantly different, and even contradictory. This may lead to the conclusion that an efficient bullying prevention requires bridging the perception gap between these two core groups of school population.
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