This study presents an analysis of the anti-bullying policies of 24 South Carolina middle schools that were involved in the Abbeville lawsuit. These schools sued the state of South Carolina alleging that the school finding system was inadequate. The schools are plagued with numerous problems including being among the lowest performing in the state, dilapidated buildings, underpaid teachers, high staff turn-over rate, and high levels of poverty. Along with the problems associated with inadequate funding, bullying in these schools is another barrier that must be conquered to achieve academic success. South Carolina implemented its anti-bullying legislation in 2006 and placed a mandate on each school district to implement an anti-bullying policy by January 1, 2007.
Data for this study were collected using a self-administered 30-item questionnaire (see Appendix A) developed by the researcher. The questionnaires were sent to the school principals with instructions requesting that the survey be completed by the individual responsible for receiving and investigating complaints of bullying. The instrument was piloted on a mixed group of educators at a bullying conference. The researcher mailed out 31 questionnaires, of which 26 were returned. Two of the 26 were eliminated due to insufficient responses.
An adoption of Fowler's (2009) four criteria for successful policy implementation (highly successful, relatively successful, relatively unsuccessful, and unsuccessful) provided the framework for the study.
The researcher's methodology included the use of percentages and standard deviation to analyze the data. Three research questions were established for the purpose of evaluating the level of success each of the 24 middle schools achieved in implementing the state's anti-bullying policy.
Research question one inquired about the extent in which the middle schools involved in the Abbeville lawsuit were implementing the South Carolina anti-bullying legislation. The findings for research question one indicated that the majority (62.5%) of the middle schools represented in the Abbeville lawsuit are unsuccessfully implementing the South Carolina anti-bullying legislation. When examining the total score response and the implementation rating that corresponded with the total scores in chart 5 (located in Chapter IV), it is evident that the schools' anti-bullying policy implementation does not align with the implementation of the South Carolina anti-bullying legislation.
Relative to research question two, regarding the degree to which the schools' policy implementation was successful, 3 (12.5%) of the 24 schools are unsuccessfully implementing their anti-bullying policy, 12 (50%) are relatively unsuccessfully implementing their policy, 5 (20.8%) relatively successful and four (16.7%) are highly successfully implementing their policy according to the South Carolina anti-bullying legislation. Overall, the majority (62.5%) of the schools are not successfully implementing their anti-bullying policy according to the modifications of Fowler's (2009) successful criteria categories.
Finally, research question three, which related to the schools' perception of their level of implementation, determined that there is a degree of difference in how the respondents' rated their schools based on the actual rating of the survey score results. All of the respondents rated their school as either in the relatively or highly successful categories. Schools R and V were the only schools that had a rating that corresponded with the actual survey score rating. This indicates that 91.7% of the respondents' assessment regarding the implementation of their anti-bullying policy is imprecise.
The findings report that the majority (62.5%) of the schools involved in the Abbeville lawsuit are not successfully implementing their anti-bullying policy according to the South Carolina anti-bullying legislation.
KEY WORDS. Bullying, Bullycide, School Safety, Anti-bullying, South Carolina Anti-bullying Legislation