Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

Examining School Administrators’ Beliefs & Perceptions regarding Transgender Students
by O'Donnell, Kimberly J., Ph.D., University of Southern Maine, 2020, 128; 27829673
Abstract (Summary)



Kimberly J. O’Donnell

Dissertation Advisor: Dr. Catherine Fallona

An Abstract of the Dissertation Presented

In Partial Fulfilment of the Requirements for the

Degree Doctor of Philosophy

In Public Policy

February 2020

As societal acceptance of the LGBT population continues to improve, more and more young people are identifying as part of that subgroup, especially transgender youth. Schools today are presented with the challenge of creating a safe and supportive environment for these students (Mugisha, 2015). Administrators play a key role in defining the culture and climate of their schools. The purpose of this study was to understand what deficits exist in administrator understandings of the nuances of transgender identity and how they perceive their role in supporting transgender students through the development and application of policies and procedures in their setting.

The findings of this study indicate that although administrators have some generalized understandings, (a) their knowledge base is limited regarding this marginalized population; (b)coursework and certification requirements have little depth regarding transgender students and the LGBT population overall; (c) administrator responses to issues regarding transgender youth are largely reactive; (d) administrators believe transgender students are harassed and bullied more often than their cisgender counterparts; (e) administrators would benefit from additional supports in how to deal with the unique issues faced by this population; (f) policies and procedures, despite state and federal laws, are either not understood, are not available or not seen as applicable when considering this population.

Given these findings, active steps are needed to ensure this very marginalized group of students are given safe and equitable access to our schools. Administrative certification coursework and preparation must become more inclusive of the LGBT population and schools/districts must consider developing trans-inclusive policies and procedures.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Fallona, Catherine
Commitee: Stairs-Davenport, Andrea, Blier, Heather
School: University of Southern Maine
Department: Muskie School of Public Service
School Location: United States -- Maine
Source: DAI-A 81/10(E), Dissertation Abstracts International
Subjects: Educational administration, Education Policy, LGBTQ studies
Keywords: School administrator, Transgender
Publication Number: 27829673
ISBN: 9798641783390
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