Parental Perspectives on Principals’ Responses to Homophobic, Biphobic, and Transphobic Bullying in Australian High Schools: An Exploratory Study

Laura G. Hanlon, Stephanie N. Webb, Jill M. Chonody, Deborah A. Price, Phillip S. Kavanagh

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


School principals may be well-placed to establish safe and affirming school climates for gender and sexuality diverse students by upholding zero-tolerance policies for homophobic, biphobic, and/or transphobic (HBT) bullying. Few qualitative investigations have examined how leaders are perceived, by those with vested interest, to be exercising their powers in this regard. Parents and caregivers (N = 16) completed a qualitative online questionnaire about their experiences navigating school responses to the HBT bullying of their child. Responses were analysed using reflexive thematic analysis. Findings indicate that principals were often either a first point of contact or an option for escalation. Intervention efforts were favourably appraised where empathy for the targeted student was accompanied by quick and decisive action. When this did not occur, participants described the injurious effects of inaction, prejudiced attitudes, and minimisation of the impact of non-physical bullying on both them and their child. We discuss implications for principals and schools with respect to the significant consequences of non-intervention.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-13
Number of pages13
JournalInternational Journal of Bullying Prevention
Publication statusPublished - May 2024

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