Award Date


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education (EdD)


Educational Leadership

First Committee Member

Edith A. Rusch

Second Committee Member

Robert McCord

Third Committee Member

James Crawford

Fourth Committee Member

Christopher Kearney

Number of Pages



Bullying among children in our nation's schools has gripped the nation's collective interest, leading to grief, anger, and inquisition. Recent headlines suggest that the public is asking why bullying is taking place among our youth, so much so that it is costing children their lives. Recent teen deaths have swept the airwaves and headlines in the last two to three years, and it appears to be a problem that is starting to become a national epidemic.

The purpose of this study was to examine bullying within student-sanctioned programs within a school, specifically, whether or not student leaders in those programs exercise bully-like behaviors based on being in a position of power. Examples of these "positions of power" include presidents, vice presidents, squad leaders, section leaders, or other "titles" that the advisors of these programs bestow on these students. Student-sanctioned organizations can carry hierarchal structures much like any bureaucracy we see in our everyday lives.

Schools, like most organizations, have multiple layers of bureaucratic structures that are intended to carry out the mission efficiently and maintain order in the process. Student organizations such as cheerleading, student councils, football teams or band programs, can be viewed as smaller versions of the larger bureaucracy. Each of these groups has their own organizational rules, their own way of doing things, their own hierarchies of leadership, and their own ways of disseminating policies among their students.

This qualitative study utilized an interview protocol, which explored the power relations between student leaders and non-student leaders in high school organizations that utilize student leaders. Using phenomenology as a guide, the inquiry focused on two urban high school bands, examples of the co-curricular programs that utilize student leaders. The student's first-hand and personal testimonials to the leadership experiences were crucial to examining these power relations.

For some students, being in a leadership position is a way to be a bully, and the experience that the non-leaders have is similar to the experience of a victim of bullying. To date, studies have not looked at the effects of bullying by student leaders in a high school band setting. This study may provide useful insights for leadership policies and practice for a multitude of student activity groups.

The study found that while some students did experience bullying to varying degrees during their time spent in their band programs, they all felt a sense of belonging to their band communities. All of the students agreed that leadership is important to a band program's function, but they felt that some student leaders within their bands did not effectively do their jobs that they were charged to do in a band setting. The details of these findings are reported out in chapter four of this dissertation, the discussion around those findings is found in chapter five, and implications for future practices are discussed in chapter six.


Band; Bands (Music); Bullying; Bullying in schools; Control (Psychology); High school student activities; High schools; Leadership; Power; Student leadership; Student organizations


Education | Educational Leadership

File Format


Degree Grantor

University of Nevada, Las Vegas




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