Statement of purpose Anti-bullying policies targeting bullying behavior in schools are now adopted across all 50 states; however, their effectiveness depends on their implementation. This study illustrates how Maine schools implemented their district’s anti-bullying policies and presents facilitators and challenges to implementing these policies.
Methods/Approach Semi-structured interviews were conducted among 22 school personnel involved in implementing anti-bullying policies (administrators, counselors, teachers, and support staff). These 22 school personnel came from six school districts selected from four rural and two urban schools representing the children’s cabinet regions of the state. Interview transcripts were analyzed using content analysis methods. Respondents were asked to recount how bullying allegations are reported, their experience investigating bullying allegations, how safety measures and responses plans are implemented, and the content of the anti-bullying training provided.
Results Implementation of anti-bullying policies varied across schools. Respondents provided examples of how school district resources assisted in establishing bullying reporting systems and creating a safety measures for all parties involved. Other resources such as school resource officers and community partnerships supported local policy implementation. Respondents discussed lack of funding to carry out the policy, time constraints to investigate bullying allegations, and limited training to conduct investigations as challenges to upholding the policy requirements.
Conclusions The challenges and facilitators to implementing anti-bullying policies reported by school staff identify where policy implementation practices can be improved to reduce bullying victimization.
Significance This study highlights how the challenges and facilitators to implementing statewide policy enhances our understanding of the potential connections between anti-bullying policies, policy implementation, and bullying incidents.
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