Date of Award

Spring 5-2016

Degree Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Department

Educational Leadership and School Counseling

Committee Chair

Dr. David Lee

Committee Chair Department

Educational Leadership and School Counseling

Committee Member 2

Dr. Ann Blankenship

Committee Member 2 Department

Educational Leadership and School Counseling

Committee Member 3

Dr. James Fox

Committee Member 3 Department

Educational Leadership and School Counseling

Committee Member 4

Dr. James King

Committee Member 4 Department

Educational Leadership and School Counseling

Abstract

The purpose of the study was to determine if there was a significant difference in the perception of school safety by teachers between secondary schools that employ School Resource Officers (SROs), who are armed, and School Safety Officers (SSOs), who are unarmed or a combination of SROs and SSOs. The School Resource Officers and School Climate Teacher Survey, created by Dr. Amy Oaks (2001) was utilized to gather data. The 193 participants of the study included certified teachers at secondary schools in the Jackson Public School District, the Jackson County Public School District, and the Ocean Springs School District.

A Pearson Chi-Square test was conducted to determine if there was a significant difference in the perception of safety between the two groups. In all items analyzed, it was found that there was a statistically significant difference in the perception of school safety with the SRO group perceiving their schools as being safer than the teachers in the SRO/SSO group. In an environment in which the issue of school safety is becoming an increasingly important topic, the perception of teachers working in these schools is vital.

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