Organizational climate, faculty trust: predicting student bullying an elementary school study

Thumbnail Image
Journal Title
Journal ISSN
Volume Title
University of Alabama Libraries

Bullying is a serious problem among students. Research linking school climate and trust as to bullying is minimal. This study examined elements of school climate and trust in relation to bullying and protection using Hoy and Smith's (2004) climate study and Smith and Birney's (2005) trust study. Trust was found to be the significant predictor of bullying. As trust increased bullying decreased and teacher protection of bullied children increased. Specifically, Hoy and Smith (2004) found achievement press and institutional vulnerability to be the most factors, in explaining student bullying, and teacher professional behavior was the most significant climate factor in explaining teacher protection. Smith and Birney (2005) found trust in clients the most significant finding in explaining student bullying and trust in colleagues the most significant finding in teacher protection. SES was negatively related to bullying but positively related to protection. The wealthier the school districts the less bullying and more teacher protection. In an extension of both the Hoy and Smith (2004) study, and the Smith and Birney (2005) trust study, the study reported here found that all aspects of climate were related to both bullying and protection but only collegial leadership had a unique relationship to the dependent variable. This study found trust in clients and trust in the principal to be significantly related to bullying and protection with trust in clients being the most significant. SES was not a contributing factor; the absence of the SES relationship was probably due to a restriction of range in a homogeneous and small sample. iii A total of 704 teachers were surveyed in a convenience sample of 29 elementary schools in the northern section of Alabama. Teachers' perceptions of climate, trust, and bullying were surveyed using the OCI, Omnibus T-Scale, and the Bully Index. SES percentages collected from state data on all elementary schools were used as a control variable to explore further relationships. This study offers implications for practice. Trust in clients and trust in the principal played an important role in encouraging the faculty to protect students from intimidation, threat, and aggressive actions from their peers. Building trusting relationships with the principal, teachers, students, and parents, is very important. Principals and teachers must go out of their way to create a bond between students and parents. Principals need to ensure that teachers do not disassociate themselves from taking an active role to monitor, regulate, and confirm incidents of student aggression. This study reaffirms the crucial role school administrators have in building safe and trusting schools. This study offers recommendations for future research. The two dimensions of student bullying and teacher protection need to be examined further in a variety of school environments if we are able to develop strategies to stop violence in schools. Including SES in a study sample can give insight to the socioeconomic and stability of the home as it relates to school bullying

Electronic Thesis or Dissertation