Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

A Descriptive Study of Law Enforcement Arrest Decisions, Administrative Actions, and Their Impact on Students' Exclusionary Outcomes in the Secondary School Environment
by Ruck, Richard A., Jr., Ph.D., East Stroudsburg University, 2017, 150; 10747546
Abstract (Summary)

Public reaction after violent incidents in schools have led policymakers and school officials to institute security measures including zero tolerance policies and police officers. Researchers reported an increase in student arrest rates and exclusionary discipline rates for minor offenses after implementing these initiatives.

This study focused on student arrest rates and exclusionary discipline measures in two high schools among School Resource Officers (SRO)/School Based Police Officers (SBPO) and secondary administrators over two school years. Furthermore, the study examined the factors influencing arrest decisions of the School Resource Officers/School Based Police Officers involved. The data collected answered these questions: 1. What factors contribute to the School Resource Officers'/School Based Police Officers' decisions of whether to arrest students in the school setting? 2. How do zero tolerance approaches influence student arrest rates and student exclusionary discipline rates in schools that utilize School Resource Officers/School Based Police Officers? 3. What role do the School Resource Officers/School Based Police Officers have in the school environment?

A descriptive research method, utilizing interviews, surveys and student arrest and discipline information, was used to answer these questions. The participants in this study were selected using purposive sampling based on their assignment in a secondary school.

This study reported that there were similarities among the police officers regarding the factors affecting the arrest decisions. This was reasonably consistent with the research. Most students in the study were arrested at both site locations for minor misconduct in 2014-15 but major offenses in 2015-16. The exclusionary discipline rates were dependent on site location. This appeared to be an indication that it had little to do with the SROs/SBPOs assigned to the schools and much more to do with the administrative leadership within the respective schools.

The findings indicate a need for ongoing collaboration and communication between the supervisors of the schools and law enforcement agencies. Furthermore, the implementation of a positive approach to student behavior rather than a punitive approach may assist in reducing the amount of exclusionary outcomes. Lastly, training for the police officers related to interactions with misbehaving students may assist in changing their arrest decisions.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Lare, Doug
Commitee: Reidhead, Van, Wilson, Craig
School: East Stroudsburg University
Department: Communication
School Location: United States -- Pennsylvania
Source: DAI-A 79/08(E), Dissertation Abstracts International
Subjects: Educational leadership, Secondary education, Criminology
Keywords: Education administration, Police, School based police officer, School resource officer, School safety, Student discipline
Publication Number: 10747546
ISBN: 9780355828719
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