Degree Name

EdD (Doctor of Education)

Program

Educational Leadership

Date of Award

12-2009

Committee Chair or Co-Chairs

Eric S. Glover

Committee Members

James H. Lampley, Glenn Bettis, Elizabeth Ralston

Abstract

According to the National Association of School Resource Officers (2009), every state in the nation employs school resource officers. The trend, which began in 1991, was initially funded by federal monies. Since that time, school resource officers have remained in schools, gaining popularity as a proactive strategy in fighting against school violence. The purpose of the study was to examine students' and teachers' perceptions regarding school resource officers' performance related to the 3 dimensions of their responsibilities: maintaining a safe environment, enforcing the law, and teaching. Data were gathered from 104 teachers and 272 students from a middle school and a high school, totaling 376 participants.

An analysis of data was based on 6 research questions and information gathered from participant surveys. A t test for independent samples was then conducted to evaluate the mean differences for the 3 dimensions measured in the survey. The following grouping variables were used in the comparisons for each dimension: students and teachers, male and female students, male and female teachers, teachers with varied years of experience, middle and high school students, and middle and high school teachers.

A significance difference was found between middle school students and high school students regarding each dimension, suggesting that middle school students observed school resource officers actively performing each role to a higher degree than did high school students. There was also a significant difference between teachers and students regarding the role of maintaining a safe environment and enforcing the law, suggesting that teachers observed school resource officers more active in these roles than in the role of counseling. A significant difference was also found between high school teachers and middle school teachers regarding the role of enforcing the law. High school teachers observed enforcement of law more than middle school teachers.

This study suggests that school resource officers' roles need to be clearly defined for teachers and students. Students need to know they can report crime, have knowledge that they are being monitored, and know they have resources available other than administrators and teachers.

Document Type

Dissertation - Open Access

Copyright

Copyright by the authors.

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