Understanding Bystander Perceptions of Cyberbullying in Inclusive Classroom Settings




Guckert, Mary

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Cyberbullying is a pervasive problem that puts students at risk of successful academic outcomes and the ability to feel safe in school. As most students with disabilities are served in inclusive classrooms, there is a growing concern that students with special needs are at an increased risk of online bullying harassment. Enhancing responsible bystander behavior can be an effective factor in combating cyberbullying. This qualitative case study examined bystander perceptions of cyberbullying of 11 students with and without disabilities and 9 general and special educators from 14 different schools located on the Eastern seaboard. Specifically, a case study analysis including interviews, artifacts, and member checks was completed using a grounded theory and constant comparative method of analysis. Four key themes related to cyberbullying were identified: (a) conditions facilitate cyberbullying among students with and without disabilities in inclusive settings, (b) awareness of cyberbullying influences perceptions, (c) key factors influence bystander perceptions and reactions, and (d) adolescent bystanders react as active interveners, passive witnesses, and bystander bullies, while teachers are proactive or reactive. Implications for research, policy, schools, and teachers are discussed. Limitations and suggestions for future research are also presented.



Special education, Education, Teacher education, Bystander, Cyberbullying, Inclusive classroom, Special education, Student perceptions, Teacher perceptions