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Bullying and Violence on the School Bus: A Mixed-Methods Assessment of Behavioral Management Strategies

Award Information

Award #
Funding Category
Congressional District
Funding First Awarded
Total funding (to date)

Description of original award (Fiscal Year 2015, $677,259)

Statement of the Problem: Millions of children in the U.S. regularly ride the bus to and from school. Despite the advantages of school-based transportation, the unique physical and social environment of the bus also makes it one of the leading locations for bullying and violence. In response, researchers, school officials, and other stakeholders have recommended strategies for managing behavior on the bus, including the use of surveillance technology, bus attendants, and training programs for drivers. However, little is known regarding the use of these strategies, or their effectiveness. Subjects: The target sample is all transportation directors from public school districts in the U.S. Partnerships: RTI International is partnering with the National Association for Pupil Transportation (NAPT) and subject matter expert Dr. Pamela Orpinas from the University of Georgia. Research Design and Methods: In Phase I, we will administer a national web-based survey to district transportation directors to gather information about the range and perceived value of behavioral management strategies used on school buses in the U.S., to identify the most commonly used strategies, and to assess whether district characteristics are associated with their selection and perceived efficacy. In Phase II, telephone interviews will be conducted with up to 100 transportation directors to develop more detailed information about these strategies. In Phase III, we will perform evaluability assessments of selected strategies in 6-8 districts to establish a foundation for future evaluation. Analysis: Results from the survey will be analyzed to produce descriptive information about the range and perceived value of behavioral management strategies for the bus. We will also examine whether district characteristics affect the likelihood of strategy selection and their perceived value using regression-based techniques. All interview notes will be coded based upon a pre-designed coding scheme and analyzed using NVivo 10 identify themes across strategies pertaining to selection, implementation, and perceived effectiveness. Products, Reports, and Data Archiving: The final report will contribute valuable knowledge regarding behavioral management strategies on U.S. school buses. One component will be a taxonomy of strategies that is developed throughout each of the project’s phases. NAPT will host this information on their website to reach a broader audience and to enable districts to better understand what districts with similar characteristics are doing to enhance safety on the bus as well as the challenges that should be considered during the stages of selection and implementation. Note: This project contains a research and/or development component, as defined in applicable law. ca/ncf
Date Created: September 29, 2015