Teachers who bully students : the parents' perspectives
Reschny, Susan Marie
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This qualitative research study explored perceptions of parents who believe their child was bullied by a teacher. The definition used for this study was from McEvoy (2005),“a pattern of conduct, rooted in a power differential that threatens, harms, humiliates, induces fear, or causes emotional distress”(p. 1).Three individual parent or parent partners were asked to share their stories about their perceived experiences with a bullying teacher. A number of questions guided this research: How do parents come to believe their child is being bullied by a teacher? What are the specific behaviours of the teacher that are perceived by parents as bullying? How do parents respond to their belief their child is being bullied by a teacher? What is the result of the parental response? What are the implications for teacher practice and education?Themes and patterns were derived from the interview data using reflective analysis techniques. The data revealed parent participants came to the belief their child was being bullied by a teacher through their children’s stories, first impressions of the teacher, validation from others regarding their perceptions and their child’s physical and behavioural changes. Teacher bullying behaviours identified by the participants paralleled those discussed in the literature. Parents responded to their belief their children were being bullied by following understood school protocol and meeting with the teacher. When parents felt the teacher had employed power tactics, they were motivated to take further action. The participants’ past experience with schools, and power and authority perceptions also affected parental responses. Parents expressed feelings of guilt for not acting more quickly to safeguard their child. Parents reported the school communities did not directly address the teacher bullying issue. Implications emerged for all stakeholders in the school community. For professional associations, school division administrators and board members the focus for change rests with a re-examination of bullying policy and professional codes of ethics. For school principals, symptoms of teacher bullying behaviours and teacher stress and may need more attention. For teachers, building relationships and presenting a professional and caring demeanor are significant considerations influencing parental perceptions. For parents, validation to action comes from listening to their children’s stories and recognizing the symptoms of teacher bullying. Validation and getting involved in their school community may prompt intervention.
DegreeMaster of Education (M.Ed.)
CommitteePain, B.; Kalyn, Brenda; Claypool, Tim