Degree Name

EdD (Doctor of Education)

Program

Educational Leadership

Date of Award

12-2010

Committee Chair or Co-Chairs

Terrence A. Tollefson

Committee Members

Elizabeth Ralston, Virginia P. Foley, Eric S. Glover, Pamela H. Scott

Abstract

Research has confirmed that the behaviors of human beings are influenced by their social environments. The school is the principal social environment of adolescents; thus, the school environment necessarily influences the behaviors of students to some degree.

This research project used the interview method to focus on perceptions of school personnel with regard to the elements of school culture that may negatively influence students' behaviors both inside and outside the school environment. The primary influences of school culture on students' behaviors were found to be peers, teachers, administrators, and parent involvlement. Governmental regulations, including those resulting from the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, were found to be an indirect and sometimes negative influence on the long-term behaviors of students and their ability to function in the world.

This study resulted in the discovery that teachers, administrators, and other school personnel perceive that school culture, over time, has become more tolerant of inappropriate and even aggressive acts by some students while, at the same time, the culture successfully supports the implementation of problem-solving techniques and positive behavior supports for most students.

The conclusions reached in the study indicate that school culture and its relation to student behaviors must be carefully examined and that, if further research confirms the findings of this study, action should be taken to effect change. Those changes should include the expansion of efforts to provide equitable and respectful treatment and opportunities for students of all socioeconomic backgrounds as well as lobbying for changes in federal and state regulations, such as some provisions of the IDEA, that have promoted a lack of student accountability for behaviors.

Document Type

Dissertation - Open Access

Copyright

Copyright by the authors.

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