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73 School-related victimisation among children with disabilities
  1. Caroline Wood McNicholas1,
  2. Katie Sears1,
  3. Pamela Orpinas2
  1. 1US Towson University
  2. 2US University of Georgia


Statement of purpose Children with disabilities are bullied three times as often as children without disabilities. However, there are no bullying prevention programs that address the unique needs of this population. The purpose of this study was to explore the protective and risk factors of school personnel on victimisation from the participants’ perspective.

Methods/approach Participants were 11 students (three men and eight women) registered with the university Disability Resource Centre. Disabilities were self-reported and included mental health, chronic medical, visual and hearing impairment, and learning disabilities. Participants completed a 90 min in-depth, interpretive interview regarding peer victimisation experienced during in middle and high school. Interviews were transcribed, coded using in vivo coding methods, and then analysed using thematic analysis.

Results Participants (5/11) reported that school staff and administration were supportive in a variety of ways including acknowledging disability-related struggles, providing accommodations such as extra time on tests, and showing an interest in students’ lives outside of school. However, several (6/11) participants experienced victimisation from either school staff or administrators. Examples of victimisation included verbal aggression, refusal to provide accommodations, discrimination regarding inclusion in school-related activities, and humiliation in front of peers. Participants reported 22 separate incidents of victimisation from teachers, staff or administrators. Quotes and specific examples from participants will be provided.

Conclusions Participants described ways in which school staff and administration protected against victimisation. Unexpectedly, we found that school personnel were also the perpetrators of victimisation. Suggestions for intervention and further research are discussed.

Significance and Contributions to Injury and Violence Prevention Science This study provides detailed examples of protective and aggressive behaviours from school personnel towards students with disabilities, which should be incorporated into school prevention programs and assessment instruments.

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