Degree Name

EdD (Doctor of Education)


Educational Leadership

Date of Award


Committee Chair or Co-Chairs

Jasmine R. Renner

Committee Members

Terrence A. Tollefson, Louise L. MacKay, Elizabeth Ralston


All students should be guaranteed a learning environment that is free from all forms of harassment that negatively affect the school climate as well as the learning environment.

The purpose of this quantitative study was to examine the perceptions and attitudes of Sullivan County, Tennessee, K-12 administrators regarding harassment and the associated legal liability. The study also ascertained the attitudes of the administrators pertaining to various forms of student-to-student harassment in their schools, collected data regarding their perceptions of the effectiveness of mandated anti-harassment measures, and examined administrators' attitudes toward the need for more harassment-avoidance training.

The research design was descriptive and used data gathered from a survey instrument developed by the researcher regarding administrators' perceptions and attitudes regarding harassment and the associated legal liability. The survey contained 26 question-items. The study's population consisted of 48 Sullivan County administrators. Data were analyzed using analysis of variance, t test, Pearson's correlation, Tamhane post hoc pairwise comparison, and Tukey post hoc test.

The results of the study indicated that administrators were knowledgeable about the law and legal ramifications regarding student-to-student harassment. The results also showed that middle and high school students needed more harassment-avoidance training than elementary students. No significant differences were found in their perceptions of the current status of harassment based on population, socioeconomic status, or level of the school.

The study offers a valuable insight into administrators' perception and attitudes regarding harassment and the associated legal liability. It also offers a number of recommendations including the need for more harassment-avoidance training to combat this problem for middle and high school students. Effective implementation of bullying prevention programs will need to involve all school stakeholders in order to be successful. The results may be used by school systems to plan for future staff development regarding harassment-avoidance training. Students have a right to feel safe at school as they grow and mature into adulthood. It is the duty of all schools to provide them that safe and secure atmosphere.

Document Type

Dissertation - unrestricted


Copyright by the authors.