The Repository @ St. Cloud State

Open Access Knowledge and Scholarship

Date of Award


Culminating Project Type


Degree Name

Educational Administration and Leadership, K-12: Ed.D.


Educational Administration and Higher Education


School of Education

First Advisor

Dr. John Eller

Second Advisor

Dr. Elizabeth Fogarty

Third Advisor

Dr. David Lund

Fourth Advisor

Dr. Plamen Miltenoff

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License.

Keywords and Subject Headings

bullying gifted counselors gifted prevention intervention


Despite 40 years of significant national research on various aspects of bullying (Espelage, & Swearer, 2004), and although past research has intentionally spent time examining bullying in specific populations, one population ignored in the research is the gifted student population (Peterson & Ray, 2006a, 2006b). The limited research available indicates gifted students may be vulnerable or are at risk of being targets of bullies, may become the bullies, or may even be bully-victims (Cross, 2001a, 2001b; Peters & Bain, 2011; Parliament of Victoria, 2012; Roddick, 2011; Schroeder-Davis, 2012). While educators and administrators play an integral role in the development and safety of the gifted child, the research is clear; school counselors are best suited to serve the unique developmental needs of gifted students (Bauman, 2008; Philips & Cornell, 2012).

The study was conducted to understand how versed and skilled counselors perceive their abilities to be in addressing gifted and bullying at the elementary, middle school, and high school levels. Data was collected through interviews of 9 Minnesota counselors who serve gifted students, 3 at elementary, 3 at middle school and 3 at high school. Data showed bullying is a concern at the elementary and middle school level. Gifted students were identified as a targeted group at the elementary and middle school level. Most elementary and middle school counselors did not feel confident in serving the unique social and emotional needs of gifted students. The study found counselors did utilize numerous strategies to address bullying, more at the elementary level with fewer utilized at the high school level. Most counselors in the study reported an anti-bullying program is being utilized, with four counselors reporting no program being used. Counselors overall perceive the strategies utilized by administrators were effective for reducing bullying.

The themes of the dissertation include: the concept of giftedness, the unique social and emotional needs of gifted students, the evolving role of the counselor in serving gifted students, and the information about bullying and prevention and intervention.

The study contributes to the body of research on bullying by providing more information for those who work toward understanding the healthy development of gifted youngsters. Also, the study sheds light on preparedness of counseling programs at colleges and universities preparing counselors to meet the unique needs of gifted students.


Special thanks to Dr. Fogarty for her mentorship and time and dedication.



To view the content in your browser, please download Adobe Reader or, alternately,
you may Download the file to your hard drive.

NOTE: The latest versions of Adobe Reader do not support viewing PDF files within Firefox on Mac OS and if you are using a modern (Intel) Mac, there is no official plugin for viewing PDF files within the browser window.