SCHOOL CLIMATE: EDUCATORS' TRAITS, PERCEPTIONS, AND REACTIONS TO AGGRESSIVE BEHAVIOR
Perez, Evelyn R.
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This study examined educators’ perceptions of bullying scenarios when victims were presented as lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, questioning and/or gender nonconforming (LGBTQ/GN) youth versus victims neutral of gender and sexual orientation. The aforementioned variables were analyzed by conducting a 2X3 MANCOVA investigating the main effects and interaction of group membership (LGBTQ/GN and non-LGBTQ/GN) and type of bullying (verbal, physical, and relational) upon educators’ perceived seriousness, likelihood to intervene, and level of empathy toward victims while accounting for participants’ homonegativity and social desirability. Educators’ perceptions were gathered through a modified version of the Bullying Attitudes Questionnaire- (BAQ; Bauman and Del Rio, 2000). The Scale of Homonegativity (Wrench, 2005) and the Social Desirability Scale -17 (SDS-17; Stöber, 2001) were used to assess covariates. In total, 520 participants completed the survey; however only 439 were included in the data analysis because they assented to participation, had no missing data, met inclusion criteria, were not affected by a typographical error (n = 75), and agreed to allow their data to be used after disclosure of deceit of the true purpose of the study after the completion of the survey. Educators (N = 439) from elementary, middle school, and high school were recruited primarily from social networking and two school districts. Results revealed no significant differences in perceptions of bullying related to seriousness when considering group membership (LGBTQ/GN v. non-LGBTQ/GN); however, there were significant differences in perceptions of seriousness when considering type of bullying with verbal bullying being the most serious followed by physical then relational. Similarly, there were no significant differences in educators’ level of empathy or likelihood to intervene with regard to the main effect of group membership; however, with regard to the type of bullying as it relates to level of empathy and likelihood to intervene there were significant differences detected. Across both LGBTQ/GN and non-LGBTQ/GN group membership, verbal bullying was rated highest for likelihood to intervene, followed by physical being next highest and then relational bullying lowest. This pattern was not the same for level of reported empathy. Verbal bullying was rated highest followed by relational then physical being rated lowest for both LGBTQ/GN and non-LGBTQ/GN victims. Social desirability did not account for significant amounts of the variance; however, homonegativity accounted for a significant amount of the variance across all three dependent variables (seriousness, likelihood to intervene, and level of empathy).