Accessing Special Inclusion Programming
Conway F. Saylor & John Bradley Leach
Published online: 6 December 2008
# Springer Science + Business Media, LLC 2008
Abstract Perceived bullying experiences, fear of school violence, and social support were investigated in 24 students with disabilities (SWD) in self-contained special education classes and 24 peers with no known disabilities (Peers) who participated in a pilot recreation-focused inclusion program, Peer EXPRESS. Middle and high school students were invited 10 and 34 weeks after the beginning of school to complete the
Reynolds’s Bully Victimization Scale (BVS) and School Violence Anxiety Scale
(SVAS) and Harter’s Social Support Scale (HSS). Significantly higher rates of perceived victimization by peers and greater anxiety about multiple forms of peer victimization were noted among SWD both before and after the supplemental inclusion intervention.
Although paired t-tests showed significant declines in SWD reports of victimization and anxiety over 24 weeks in Peer EXPRESS, declines were not great enough to eliminate the SWD-Peer discrepancy or substantially change perceived social support. Implications for students’ personal safety and inclusive programming are discussed.
Keywords Bullying .
Peer victimization .
Students with disabilities
Increased prevalence of bullying and peer victimization among children and adolescents has been a growing concern throughout the past decade. Evidence from a number of comprehensive studies has suggested that bullying behavior is a common occurrence in U.S. schools (DeVoe et al. 2003; Hoover et al. 1992; Nasel et al. 2001), and can have a devastating effect on a student’s developmental and behavioral outcomes (Arsenault et al. 2006; Orpinas and Horne 2006; Espelage and Swearer
2003). In fact, a national crime victimization survey issued by the National Center for
Education Statistics (2003) revealed that the percentage of students who reported being bullied in U.S. schools increased from 5% in 1999 to 8% in 2001. These findings are consistent with the Nasel et al. (2001) large-scale survey indicating that approximately 30% of 15, 686 students in grades six through ten reported moderate or frequent involvement in bullying, with 17% reporting victimization, and 19% reporting being perpetrators.
There are differences in the growing interdisciplinary and international literatures on bullying that are traceable in part to terminology that is inconsistent across theories and studies. Reynolds (2003) defines bullying as “the use of physical, psychological, or direct verbal means either individually or in a group, to cause physical or psychological distress to others” (p4). Bullying by use of technology or “cyberbullying” has also been introduced as a means of inflicting comparable harm (Willard 2007). The term
“peer victimization” extends the construct to account for the measurable psychological or physical harm experienced by the victims of bullying. Several recent studies have also adopted the term “Bully-victim” to describe students who admit to being both the victim and the perpetrator of bullying. Finally, bullying research is linked to rich and broader literatures on social aggression, direct and indirect aggression, school violence, and fears about school safety. As the present study operationally defines bullying and fear of school violence by the Reynolds (2003) measures utilized in this investigation,
Reynolds’ terminology is adopted throughout, except in cases where authors cited specifically used other constructs and labels.
There is a growing body of research to indicate that students who have special needs may be at even greater risk for bullying and victimization than “typical” peers.
Morrison and Furlong (1994) investigated “school violence” among 554 high school students. The sample included general education students (n=485), leadership class students (n=39),