DETERMINING SCHOOL SAFETY CONCERNS: THE LIVED EXPERIENCES OF A MIDDLE SCHOOL SAFETY TEAM
A school safety team collaborates with stakeholders to promote and maintain a physically and psychologically safe school environment. Together they must identify safety deficits and prioritize initiatives and practices. This phenomenological qualitative case study examined how a school safety team makes decisions and determines safety outcomes. Individual interviews and a focus group discussion explored how they calibrate what a safety concern is to help prevent violence. Four emergent themes were identified: (1) severity and impact, (2) safety-minded culture, (3) communication and collaboration, and (4) leadership. In addition, the study explored whether one of Bronfenbrenner’s ecological systems has more influence over the others when validating a concern. This study suggests that the Microsystem is most influential. From these findings, three assertions were proposed to help the school safety team, and building leaders promote safe school practices: (1) The safety team must establish collaborative relationships with stakeholders and develop convenient reporting systems to collect concerns; (2) A school safety team judges a safety concern by the severity and potential impact on the school environment; and (3) Leadership is vital for the school safety team to prepare for, respond to, and address safety concerns. These findings aim to help stakeholders promote and maintain a safe learning environment as they evaluate perceived safety concerns by highlighting areas to focus on to improve the calibration process. Though a school safety team may never know how many times they were right in calibrating a concern, a single error will be well known.
- Doctor of Philosophy
- Educational Studies
- West Lafayette