Theses and Dissertations

Issuing Body

Mississippi State University


Moyen, Eric A.

Committee Member

Armstrong, Christopher Clayton

Committee Member

Hailey, Leigh Ann

Committee Member

King, Stephanie B.

Date of Degree


Document Type

Dissertation - Open Access


Educational Leadership

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy


College of Education


Department of Educational Leadership


Since the latter part of the 19th Century, researchers have been studying the bullying phenomenon and the devastating short- and long-term impact it has on children’s lives. In an attempt to reduce bullying incidents that arise in school, many have set up anti-bullying programs. The goal of these programs is twofold: (a) to reduce the number of bullying incidents in school and (b) create a safe and welcoming learning environment for all students. Although principals work tirelessly to establish conditions to sustain learning for others, they receive very little support for their own learning and development. As principals’ on-going experiences continue to shape their understanding of issues (e.g., curriculum, instruction, assessment, culture, and bullying) that directly impact the effective functioning of a school, it is imperative to investigate the lived experiences of early-career principals in an attempt to identify potential areas of concern and overall need. Therefore, the purpose of this inquiry was to explore the lived experiences of early-career elementary school principals regarding the topic of bullying. Results of qualitative analyses identified the following prominent and recurring nine themes: (1) lack of concern/sense of denial, (2) misunderstandings, (3) frustrations/trepidations, (4) proactivity, (5) establish a supportive learning environment, (6) dialog with students, (7) social media as a cause/concern, (8) home life as a part of the problem and, (9) possible solutions/needs. Implications, limitations, and the need for future research are also discussed.