Degree Name

EdD (Doctor of Education)


Educational Leadership

Date of Award


Committee Chair or Co-Chairs

William F. Flora

Committee Members

Debra J. Bentley, John K. Boyd, Pamela H. Scott


A qualitative research study was conducted to identify, describe, and understand the perceptions of administrators of public school districts in northeast Tennessee regarding school safety. Using a semi-structured interview process, the researcher identified emerging themes regarding the factors most associated with safe school districts, the factors most associated with unsafe school districts, the items identified as needed to improve safety, and the topics identified as future safety issues at the school and district level. Through such study, the researcher was able to develop an understanding regarding the overall safety of school districts in northeast Tennessee and the specific components that lead to the existence of safe school environments.

Public school administrators in northeast Tennessee have positive perceptions regarding the overall safety of school districts, indicate a high level of awareness and a climate of safety preparedness, and believe that safety has improved due to the presence of increased funding. They perceive the factors most associated with safe school districts are the presence of law enforcement in the school environment, adequate preparation and safety-related professional development, and adequate financial resources for safety-related measures. Factors associated with unsafe environments include inconsistent adherence to safety-related processes and procedures, lack of appropriate physical security and access control, and the age, design, and current condition of physical facilities. Administrators cite the need for additional training, professional development, and resources for safety improvements, as well as identifying increasing mental health concerns and technology security as the most pressing needs facing school districts.

Document Type

Dissertation - unrestricted


Copyright by the authors.