Date of Award

Spring 2-2019

Document Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Education (EdD)

Department

Education

First Advisor

Dr. Shelly Fransen

Second Advisor

Dr. Sherry DeVore

Third Advisor

Dr. Danny Humble

Abstract

Currently, three out of 10 parents fear for their students’ safety while attending classes within the public school setting (McCarthy, 2015). This study focused on two elements that directly affect safety within schools: visitor management and intruder prevention. To analyze each of these two elements, qualitative methodology was utilized through four focus groups to determine the perceptions of Elementary school administrators, parents, and school resource officers on school safety. After conducting multiple interviews, four common themes emerged. The first theme was monitoring access to school buildings. Participants asserted taking an active approach in this area would increase the overall safety of students. The second theme discussed by multiple participants was to take additional measures to make the entrances of school buildings secure. The third theme that emerged was the importance of the role of the school resource officer. The fourth and final theme that developed was the importance of training and communication for administrators, school resource officers, staff, students, parents, and community members. After facilitating focus groups and analyzing the data obtained, it became evident the measure of a safe school depends on two variables. These variables are (1) to create a safe building for students managed by procedures designed with student safety at the forefront and (2) to employ trained individuals with the purpose of generating a positive and secure atmosphere. The data collected in this study could prove useful to district administrators wishing to design a safe and secure learning environment for students.

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