South Texas elementary school counselors' lived experiences responding to bullying survivors' and perpetrators' needs
This study analyzed the lived experiences of elementary school counselors involved in responding to bullying behaviors and establishing and maintaining bullying prevention programs. The research questions were: (a) What are elementary school counselors' lived experiences in working with bullying survivors and perpetrators, and (b) What are elementary school counselors' lived experiences in establishing and maintaining bullying prevention programs? Giorgi' descriptive phenomenological research method was used. Twelve South Texas elementary school counselors were interviewed using a semi-structured interview protocol. Interview transcripts were analyzed following descriptive phenomenological research protocols. Themes included elementary school counselors' insight into bullying behaviors, the importance of guidance counseling program to bullying programs' implementation, and the constraints of responding to bullying and implementing preventive programs in the elementary school. One of the major constraints noted was the effect of high stakes testing on bullying prevention because school resources often are reserved for ensuring higher test scores. Implications for policy makers, counselor educators, and school counselors as well as future research needs have been provided. The major limitation of the study is the small participant sample; therefore, the findings may not reflect all elementary school counselors' experiences in responding and intervening to bullying behaviors.