Date of Award

2016

Degree Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy in Urban Education

Department

Education and Human Services

First Advisor

Banks, Tachelle

Subject Headings

Education Policy

Abstract

Many American public schools began to employ School Resource Officers (SROs) in the 1990s as a result of mass school shootings in the early 1990s (Weiler & Cray, 2011). An SRO is a law enforcement officer serving primarily within a school community whose mission is to ensure safety, order, and discipline through conflict mediation and critical incident response (Clark, 2011). According to national data, there are currently SROs in 35% of schools, regardless of level (e.g., elementary, middle, and high school), location (e.g., rural, town, suburban, or city), or student population (Weiler & Cray, 2011). Despite a heavy reliance on policing in American public schools, limited research exists regarding the long term implications of these measures on student behaviors.

The present study examined variations in incidents of student insubordination and violence between 2010 and 2014. An individual change model allowed for repeated observations of student behaviors in 148 schools at the individual school level at the initial status (2010) and over time. Finding were significant at the initial status only. As school size and the total number of school policing measures increased, so did student incidents of insubordination in 2010. School policing and the percentage of economic disadvantage did not predict violence. Findings contribute to the knowledge base regarding school policing by considering the actual number of behavior incidents with respect to policing in all school locales, revealing that the impact of school policing on student behaviors may transcend race and geographic location. The study recommends alternative approaches to problematic behavior and intensive training for school police officers.

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