Bullying and Students with Disabilities: Strategies and Techniques To Create a Safe Learning Environment for All


Barry Edwards McNamara

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    My work on this topic has been greatly influenced by parents of students who have been bullied in school and the victims themselves. Their willingness to share their experiences with me is very much appreciated.

    Jessica Allan, Senior Acquisitions Editor at Corwin, has been remarkably responsive and supportive. She has provided valuable feedback throughout the entire process. I truly appreciate her advice and expertise.

    This book is written in memory of my mother, Ursula McNamara, a woman of strong faith, who was optimistic and resilient—and quite a character! and it is dedicated to my grandchildren, Lucy and Logan. The world stops when I am with them. I find myself just staring at them, still amazed that I am their grandpa. Words cannot fully express the depths of my love for them. I also want to acknowledge the contributions of other members of my family. Much of my thinking on bullying is the result of collaboration with my wife, Fran. Together, we've written and spoken on the subject and worked directly with victims and their families. She has made invaluable contributions to this book, and her voice is present throughout. Her love and support have been reassuring constants in my life. I always know I can count on her to know exactly what I need, even before I know what I need. We are blessed with wonderful daughters, Melissa and Tracy. They have very busy, productive lives yet never fail to offer (and provide!) assistance to me. Their ongoing reinforcement, encouragement, and efforts on my behalf are very much appreciated. They exemplify the attributes of kindness, caring, and empathy in all they do. Finally, I want to acknowledge my son-in-law, Todd J. Hirsch, for his interest in and support of my work (and for Lucy and Logan!).

    Publisher's Acknowledgments

    Corwin gratefully acknowledges the contributions of the following reviewers:

    • Barbara Hayhurst, Special Education Teacher

      Lakevue Elementary, Nampa, ID

    • Kelli S. Kercher, Special Education Team Leader

      Murray City School District, Murray, UT

    • Mary Reeve, Educational Administrator

      Gallup McKinley County Schools, Gallup, NM

    About the Author

    Dr. Barry Edwards McNamara is a Professor of Special Education at Dowling College in Oakdale, New York. He received his BA from St. Benedict's College, his MS Ed. from University of Kansas (Special Education: Learning Disabilities), and his doctorate from Columbia University's Teachers College in Special Education: Learning Disabilities. in addition to teaching at the college level, Dr. McNamara was a special education teacher in a self-contained classroom setting and a resource room. He was also a Learning Disability Teacher Consultant.

    He has published widely in professional journals and other publications and is the author of a number of books. He is the coauthor (with his wife, Francine J. McNamara, MSW, LCSW-R) of Keys to Parenting a Child with ADD(2 editions), Keys to Parenting a Child with a Learning Disability, and Keys to Dealing with Bullies. He is the author of three textbooks in special education, including the most recent, Learning Disabilities: Bridging the Gap Between Research and Classroom Practice(2007), published by Pearson. The books on attention deficit disorder (ADD) and bullying were translated into Chinese. His textbook on the resource room was translated into Japanese, and the learning disabilities (LD) textbook was translated into Korean.

    Dr. McNamara has made innumerable presentations to national, state, and local professional organizations and is a consultant to many school districts throughout the United States. His current consulting activities include developing and implementing coteaching programs for collaborative classes, developing and implementing behavioral interventions, and providing training on the identification and treatment of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). He is also a frequent presenter on bullying at professional and parent organizations and serves as a consultant to schools on ways to implement school-wide bullying prevention programs that are accessible to all students.

  • Appendix A : Books on Bullying (For Students)

    Appendix B : Useful Websites for Dealing with Bullying


    AbilityPath. (2011). Walk a mile in their shoes. Retrieved June 7, 2012, from http://www.abilitypath.org
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    Atlas, R. S., & Pepler, D. J. (1998). Observation of bullying in the classroom. The Journal of Educational Research, 92, 86–97. http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/00220679809597580
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    Broer, S. M., Doyle, M. B., Giangreco, M. F. (2005). Perspectives of students with intellectual disabilities about their experiences with paraprofessional support. Exceptional Children, 71(4), 415–430.
    Carter, B., & Spencer, V. (2006). The fear factor. Bullying and students with disabilities. International Journal of Special Education, 21(1), 11–23.
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    Espelage, D. L., & Swearer, S. M. (Eds.). (2004). Bullying in American schools: A social-ecological perspective on prevention and intervention. Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum.
    Forgan, J. W., & Gonzales-DeHass, A. (2004). How to infuse social skills training into literacy instruction. Teaching Exceptional Children, 36, 24–30.
    Forness, S. R., & Kavale, K. A. (1996). Treating social skills deficits in children with learning disabilities: A meta-analysis of the research. Learning Disability Quarterly, 19, 2–13. http://dx.doi.org/10.2307/1511048
    Friend, M., & Cook, L. (2013). Interactions: Collaboration skills for school professionals. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson.
    Garrity, C., Jens, K., Porter, W., Sager, N., & Short-Camilla, C. (2004). Bully-Proofing your school. Longmont, CO: Sopris West. (Original work published 2000)
    Giangreco, M. F. (2010). One-to-one paraprofessionals for students with disabilities in inclusive classrooms: Is conventional wisdom wrong?Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities, 48(1), 1–13. http://dx.doi.org/10.1352/1934-9556-48.1.1
    Good, C. P., McIntosh, K., & Geitz, C. (2011). Integrating bullying into a school-wide positive behavior support. Teaching Exceptional Children, 44(1), 48–50.
    Gresham, F. M., Watson, T. S., & Skinner, C. H. (2001). FBA: Principles, procedures, and future directions. School Psychology Review, 30, 156–172.
    Hanish, L., & GuerraN. G. (2000). Predictors of peer victimization among urban minority youth. Social Development, 6, 521–543. http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/1467-9507.00141
    Heinrichs, R. (2003). Perfect targets: Asperger syndrome and bullying, practical solutions for surviving the social world. Shawnee Mission, KS: Autism Asperger.
    Hermantown School District, Hermantown MN. (2010). Paraprofessional handbook. Retrieved August 15, 2012, from http://www.hermantown.k12.mn.us
    Kim, Y., & Leventhal, B. (2008). Bullying and suicide: A review. Interactional Journal of Adolescent Medicine and Health, 20(2), 133–154.
    Klomek, A. B., Sourander, A., & Gould, M. S. (2011). Bullying and suicide. Psychiatric Times, 28, 2.
    Korinek, L., & Popp, P. A. (1997). Collaborative mainstream integration of social skills with academic instruction. Preventing School Failure, 41, 148–152. http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/10459889709603284
    Lumsden, L. (2002). Preventing bullying. Retrieved September 10, 2012, from http://ericass.uncg.edu/virtuallit/bullying/1068html.ED144
    Mastropieri, M. A., & Scruggs, T. E. (1998). Enhancing school success with mnemonic strategies. Retrieved May 10, 2012, from http://www.ldonline.org/article/5912
    McNamara, B. E. (2007). Learning disabilities: Bridging the gap between research and classroom practice. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson.
    McNamara, B. E., & McNamara, F. J. (1997). Keys to dealing with bullies. Hauppauge, NY: Barron Education.
    McLesky, J., & Waldron, N. L. (2002). Inclusion and school change: Teachers' perception regarding curricular and instructional strategies. Teacher Education and Special Education, 25, 41–54. http://dx.doi.org/10.1177/088840640202500106
    Mishna, F. (2003). Learning disabilities and bullying: Double jeopardy. Journal of Learning Disabilities, 36(4), 336–347. http://dx.doi.org/10.1177/00222194030360040501
    National Education Association (NEA). (2010). Perspectives on bullying. Retrieved November, 7, 2012, from http://www.nea.org/home/neabullyfree.html
    NICHCY. (2012). Categories of disability under IDEA. Retrieved September 14, 2012, from http://nichcy.org
    Office of Civil Rights (OCR) Department of Education. (1989). The civil rights of students with disabilities under Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973. Washington, DC: Author.
    Olweus, D. (1993). Bullying at school: What we know and what we can do. Cambridge, MA: Blackwell.
    Olweus, D. (1994). Annotation: Bullying at school: Basic facts and effects of a school-based intervention program. Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry, 35, 1171–1190. http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/j.1469-7610.1994.tb01229.x
    Olweus, D. (2003).A profile of bullying and schools. Educational Leadership, 60(6), 12–17.
    Olweus, D., & Limber, S. (1999). Blueprints for violence prevention: Bullying prevention program. Boulder: Institute of Behavioral Science, University of Colorado.
    OSEP Technical Assistance Center on Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports. (2003). Schoolwide PBS. Retrieved November 5, 2012, from http://www.pbis.org/english/Schoolwide_PBS.htm
    Mercer, C. D., Mercer, A. R., & Pullen, P. C. (2011). Teaching students with learning problems (8th ed.). Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson.
    PACER Center. (2003). Pacer Center's bullying prevention project. Retrieved November 20, 2012, from http://www.pacer.org
    Raskaukas, J., & Modell, S. (2011). Modifying anti-bullying programs to include students with disabilities. Teaching Exceptional Children, 44(1), 60–67.
    Rose, C. A., Espelage, D. L., & Monda-Amaya, L. E. (2009). Bullying and victimization rates among students in general and special education: A comparative analysis. Educational Psychology, 29(7), 761–776. http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/01443410903254864
    Rose, C. A., Monda-Amaya, L. E., & Espelage, D. L. (2011). Bullying perpetration and victimization in special education: A review of the literature. Remedial and Special Education, 32, 114–130. http://dx.doi.org/10.1177/0741932510361247
    Ross, S. W., & Horner, R. H. (2009). Bully prevention in positive behavior support. Journal of Applied Behavior Analysis, 42(4), 747–759. http://dx.doi.org/10.1901/jaba.2009.42-747
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    Salend, S. J. (2008). Creating inclusive classrooms: Effective and reflective practices. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson.
    Sugai, A. A., & Lewis, T. J. (1996). Preferred and promising practices for social skills instruction. Focus on Exceptional Children, 29, 1–16.
    Siebecker, S., Wang, C., Maag, J. W., Siebecher, A. B., & Frerichs, L. J. (2012). Understanding the bullying dynamic among students in general and special education. Journal of School Psychology, 50(4), 503–520. http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jsp.2012.04.001
    Special Olympics. (n.d.). Retrieved March 20, 2013, from http://www.specialoympics.org
    Spense Fact Sheet. (2001). Study of personnel needs in special education. Retrieved October 10, 2012, from http://www.spense.org
    Stop Bullying Now. (n.d.). Retrieved May 17, 2012, from http://www.stopbullying.gov
    Tomilson, C. A. (1999). The differentiated classroom: Responding to the needs of all learners. Alexandria, VA: ASCD. United States Department of Education. (2010). Retrieved from http://www.stopbullying.gov
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    Weiss, M. P., & Lloyd, J. W. (2003). Conditions for co-teaching: Lessons learned from a case study. Teacher Education and Special Education, 26, 27–41. http://dx.doi.org/10.1177/088840640302600104
    Will, J. D., & Neufeld, P. (2002). Taking appropriate action. Principal Leadership, 3, 51–54.
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    Young, J., Ne'eman, A., & Gelser, S. (2011). Bullying and students with sdisabilities. White House Conference on Bullying Prevention. Retrieved August 27, 2012, from http://www.ncd.gov/publications/2011/March92011

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