The Experiences of Parents Who Report Youth Bullying Victimization to School Officials

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

20 Scopus citations


Current research offers a limited understanding of parental experiences when reporting bullying to school officials. This research examines the experiences of middle-school parents as they took steps to protect their bullied youth. The qualitative tradition of interpretive phenomenology was used to provide in-depth analysis of the phenomena. A criterion-based, purposeful sample of 11 parents was interviewed face-to-face with subsequent phone call follow-ups. Interviews were taped, transcribed, and coded. MAX qda software was used for data coding. In analyzing the interviews, paradigm cases, themes, and patterns were identified. Three parent stages were found: discovering, reporting, and living with the aftermath. In the discovery stage, parents reported using advice-giving in hopes of protecting their youth. As parents noticed negative psychosocial symptoms in their youth escalate, they shifted their focus to reporting the bullying to school officials. All but one parent experienced ongoing resistance from school officials in fully engaging the bullying problem. In the aftermath, 10 of the 11 parents were left with two choices: remove their youth from the school or let the victimization continue. One paradigm case illustrates how a school official met parental expectations of protection. This study highlights a parental sense of ambiguity of school officials' roles and procedures related to school reporting and intervention. The results of this study have implications in the development and use of school-wide bullying protocols and parental advocacy.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)494-518
Number of pages25
JournalJournal of Interpersonal Violence
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jan 1 2013


  • anti-bullying policy
  • bullying
  • interpersonal violence
  • middle-school victimization
  • parent
  • qualitative
  • school response
  • trauma

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Psychology
  • Applied Psychology

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