Eric Knorr

Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education (Ded)


Professional Studies in Education

First Advisor

Crystal Machado

Second Advisor

Shirley Johnson

Third Advisor

Daniel R. Wissinger


While school districts in the United States are mandated by law to develop and adhere to state-wide anti-bullying laws and policies as a framework to reduce bullying of students, there is limited empirical research that identifies effective anti-bullying interventions for students with special needs. This qualitative study examined effective anti-bullying interventions for students with special needs through the lens of the Center for Disease Control’s Socio-Ecological Model of Violence Prevention. Data were collected from 23 K-12 public school principals, counselors, social workers and regular and special education teachers in five varied Pennsylvania districts. The researcher carefully selected the districts to ensure that participants would provide rich data based on experiences from districts with varying student groups. The researcher used typological and interpretive analysis and NVivo to code focus group transcripts. Findings suggest teachers use of classroom rules, individualized instruction, proximity seating and peers as effective anti-bullying interventions. Principals, school counselors and social workers discussed the use of school wide interventions such as Positive School Wide Behavior Intervention and Supports. Recommendations for educational professionals include explicit social skills instruction in the classroom within the context of an anti-bullying framework similar to the Multi-Tiered System of Supports (MTSS) that is used in school districts.