Anglia Ruskin University
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The repercussions of reporting bullying: some experiences of students at an independent secondary school

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posted on 2023-08-31, 08:19 authored by Niamh O'Brien, Carol Munn-Giddings, Tina Moules
This article reports on the complex web experienced by young people when making decisions to report bullying in school. The study was conducted in the secondary school of an independent day and boarding school in the East of England. A Participatory Action Research approach was used with student voice and perspective at its core. This study involved five students as co-researchers with the first author to explore the concept of ‘snitching’ about bullying. Data were collected from the wider student group through a variety of methods including questionnaires, focus groups and interviews. The findings suggest that the process of reporting bullying is more complex than adults once thought. Students have to negotiate a complex web in firstly deciding if the bullying is serious enough to report. The concept of ‘serious’ bullying is contentious, particularly between boarders and day students, but physical abuse and/or repetition tended to be characteristic of ‘serious’ bullying. Once considered ‘serious’ enough, students have to weigh up the potential repercussions from the bully or the wider friendship group if they ‘snitch’. Students were therefore in conflict between loyalty to the bully and wider friendship group in deciding if unfairness had taken place and should be reported. Finally students needed to decide who they trusted to report the bullying to. The students in this study often reported to teachers who they perceived as supportive and authoritative.



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Pastoral Care in Education




Taylor & Francis

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  • Accepted version


  • eng

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ARCHIVED Faculty of Health, Social Care & Education (until September 2018)

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