Date of Award

Spring 5-8-2015

Degree Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Department

Educational Leadership and School Counseling

Committee Chair

Dr. Michael Ward

Committee Chair Department

Educational Leadership and School Counseling

Committee Member 2

Dr. Leslie A. Locke

Committee Member 2 Department

Educational Leadership and School Counseling

Committee Member 3

Dr. James T. Johnson

Committee Member 3 Department

Educational Studies and Research

Committee Member 4

Dr. David Lee

Committee Member 4 Department

Educational Leadership and School Counseling

Abstract

The purpose of this research study was to determine Mississippi high school teachers’ perceptions regarding their preparedness for an active shooter incident. The study included an extensive literature review that included background and policy context, theoretical foundations, pertinent research and professional perspectives and a worldwide timeline of school shootings. The study also included data collection and analysis, results, conclusions, recommendations for policymakers and educational leaders, and recommendations for further research.

The study was conducted to determine if there was a relationship between school planning procedures, participation in practice and drill activity, and administrator preparedness for an active shooter incident and teachers’ perceptions of their own ability to respond effectively to an active shooter incident. The participants for this study were 418 high school teachers in Mississippi. The largest proportion of participants had 20 or more years of experience, and the majority of participants were from the southern region of the state. Eighty-five percent of the participants revealed that their school employs a full-time school resource officer (SRO), yet 43.5% of those participants reported that their SRO did not provide any active shooter preparedness training.

The study also revealed that some Mississippi schools are in violation of state law by not participating in active shooter drills. Thirty-six percent of the participants reported they did not engage in active shooter incident training. The sub-scale data revealed that participants agreed that their schools have plans in place to respond to an active shooter incident. Participants also agreed that their administrators were prepared to respond to an active shooter incident. However, participants were uncertain if their schools practice and drills were effective for active shooter incidents, and only slightly agreed that they, as teachers, were prepared to respond to an active shooter incident.

In addition, the study revealed a strong relationship between teachers’ perceptions of their schools planning procedures, their participation in planning and drill activities, their perceptions of their administrators’ ability to respond to an active shooter incident and their perceptions of their own ability to respond effectively to an active shooter incident.

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