Differences in School Discipline Efforts and Cyberbullying by School Level: A National Analysis



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The purpose of this journal-ready dissertation was to determine the degree to which cyberbullying prevention and intervention efforts were provided at different school levels (i.e., elementary, middle, and high). In the first journal article, the extent to which the frequencies of cyberbullying teacher trainings differ by school level was examined. In the second study, the extent to which factors that impede discipline efforts differ by school level was ascertained. In the third investigation, the degree to which relationships differ between other forms of harassment and cyberbullying by school level was examined. In each of the three studies, two years of national archival data were examined to ascertain the degree to which consistency was present in cyberbullying prevention and intervention by school level.


For this empirical investigation, a non-experimental, causal-comparative research design was used (Creswell & Creswell, 2018). Data that were analyzed herein were from the School Survey on Crime and Safety (Johnson & Christensen, 2017). The independent variable consisted of school level (i.e., elementary, middle, and high) and the dependent variables were responses (i.e., teacher trainings, impeding factors, and other forms of harassment) to survey questions for the 2015-2016 and 2017-2018 school years.


Inferential statistical analyses were conducted to determine the extent to which differences were present in survey responses by school level. Discipline efforts with respect to cyberbullying were better in middle and high schools than in elementary schools. Elementary teachers received less trainings because of fewer cyberbullying incidents reported by students. Over one third of such trainings were not offered to elementary teachers, as well as one fourth of bullying trainings. The fewest trainings for intervention and referral strategies were provided to elementary teachers. More than one half of elementary and middle school teachers did not receive trainings for early warnings. Limited efforts regarding inadequate/lack of parent support were reported at the elementary school level for both school years. The fewest incidents for sexual harassments and harassment based on gender identity were reported at the elementary school level. Implications for policy and for practice were made, along with recommendations for future research.



Bullying, Cyberbullying, Cybervictim, Elementary schools, Gender identity, Harassment, High schools, Mental health, Middle schools, School Survey on Crime and Safety