Date of Award

Fall 10-11-2019

Document Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Education (EdD)

Department

Education

First Advisor

Dr. Francesco Giuseffi

Second Advisor

Dr. Stephen Sherblom

Third Advisor

Dr. Lynda Leavitt

Abstract

The researcher conducted a qualitative exploration on the role of the School Resource Officer (SRO) specifically on safety/security, law enforcement duties, and interaction with students. The idea of an SRO was present in school systems since the 1950s and over the decades showed considerable expansion. On the surface, the SRO position seemed to need little definition but attempting to clarify the role led to conflicts, vagueness, and confusion among organizations served, the community, and the SROs themselves. The research was diverse concerning the roles and responsibilities of the SRO whether it be from a legal, educational, or tactical standpoint. This study explored the SRO’s role in three predominant categories reflected in current literature to better define their nature and practice. The researcher collected data through surveys from SROs in two school districts examining the roles, duties, and perceptions of the job. The researcher also conducted interviews, observations, and participant phone-ins as research instruments. The results of the qualitative data indicated SROs regularly involved themselves in the three meta-categories although disproportionate and did not support some of the contemporary theories such as the NASRO triad or the “school to prison pipeline” found in current literature. Moreover, the themes which emerged indicated the SROs performed many tasks and some went beyond their own perception of the role which neither aligned with their realization of the job nor within the bounds of law enforcement. Hence, the data showed there was no defined, consistent role and each SRO functioned in their own way within the confines of their own school.

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