Date of Award

January 2013

Degree Type

Open Access Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Education (EdD)

Department

Educational Leadership and Policy Studies

First Advisor

Charles S. Hausman

Department Affiliation

Educational Leadership and Policy Studies

Abstract

School violence has become a focal point throughout the United States, sparked by violent mass killings at schools throughout the nation. In response to these horrific attacks, school officials, law enforcement, parents, and others have taken measures to improve school safety. One of the most substantial efforts includes the utilization of specially trained police officers (SROs) in our schools. Currently, there are approximately 230 SROs assigned to Kentucky schools (KASRO, 2013) and an estimated 20,000 SROs nationally (Myrstol, 2010). Regardless of the importance of maintaining safe schools and an environment that is conducive to learning, relatively little research has been conducted examining the effectiveness of these programs and the variables that may influence those findings (Raymond, 2010). This research focuses on the impact SROs have on reported criminal and board violation rates at predominantly rural Kentucky high schools. The research uses two studies to evaluate this impact. One study involves a pre-post examination comparing high school violation rates prior the implementation of a full-time SRO and then after their implementation. The second study is a comparative examination of violation rates from high schools without SROs to violation rates from high schools with full-time SROs. The findings in both studies indicate no change in reported criminal violation rates between school populations without SROs and those with SROs; however, results indicate lower board violation rates at schools with full-time SROs when compared to schools without SROs. Variables rarely discussed but potentially impacting reported violations such as law enforcement presence are discussed, and variables commonly thought to impact violation rates such as percentages of minority and low income students are examined. Potential implications are debated.

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