Date of Award

Spring 2000

Document Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Education (EdD)

Department

Educational Leadership

First Advisor

Randall Parker

Abstract

The primary purposes of this study were to determine the perceptions of administrators, counselors, teachers, and students, regarding levels of school safety and violence in selected secondary schools in north Louisiana; the types of violence that had the greatest impact on safety; and strategies that were currently being used to address violence in the schools. The secondary purpose was to determine the differences in perceptions of school safety and violence of administrators, counselors, and teachers by ethnic background, gender and years of experience. A tertiary purpose was to determine the perceptions of students by ethnic background, gender, age, and grade level. Additionally, this study investigated how the level of violence in the selected schools has changed, the differences in perceptions based on size of schools, the differences in perceptions by all group members, and the professional development activities that have been offered to address school safety and violence. The sample consisted of 581 school members from 11 schools. Data were analyzed using descriptive and statistical analysis.

While administrators perceived their schools to be less safe than counselors, students perceived their schools to be less safe than teachers and counselors. Physical attacks/fights among students, vandalism, and verbal abuse of teachers had the greatest impact on school safety as perceived by administrators and counselors. Vandalism, verbal abuse of teachers, and student possession, distribution, and use of drugs had the greatest impact on school safety as perceived by teachers and students. All four groups perceived that incidents of violence had remained the same or decreased. Principals indicated dud teachers monitoring the hills, closed campuses, and the use of visitor passes/registration were the most popular violence prevention methods being used. The most popular types of workshop attended by school personnel were on gang violence, school violence, drug education, and conflict resolution. Regardless of the variables of ethnicity, gender, or years of experience, administrators, counselors, and teachers seemed to possess similar perceptions toward levels of school safety and violence. Regardless of the variables of ethnicity, gender, age, and grade level, students seemed to possess similar perceptions toward levels of school safety and violence.

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