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Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

Student Perceptions of School Safety and Security
by Barnhardt, John, Ed.D., University of Pennsylvania, 2020, 153; 27830053
Abstract (Summary)

This study is a qualitative, practitioner-driven, and site-based approach that includes interviews, focus groups, surveys, observational field notes, data collection, and analysis memos. Data collection methods engaged 99% of the student population and had participation from 77% of the student population. This research contextualizes students’ perceptions of safety while attending a public charter middle school in Washington, D.C.

Through the social reproduction lenses of othering and symbolic power and through a critical race theory lens, the researcher examines students’ experiences, beliefs, and hopes for the safety and security of their school. Students at South Creek Academy position their school and their experience within a community that feels unsafe. Students overwhelmingly agree that while they feel safe at school, there are systems and processes that are part of the school, and schools in general, that make them feel second-class and, ultimately, less safe.

This research concludes four significant findings related to the construct of students’ perceived safety:

1. Positive relationships are linked to an increased perception of safety while at school.

2. The contextual web of experience informing perceived safety while at school is dense, but knowledge of it is required to make purposeful and aligned security systems in schools.

3. Students report feeling most safe in large spaces and common areas.

4. Some security systems, procedures, and beliefs make students feel othered.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Ravitch, Sharon M.
Commitee: Mittenfelner Carl, Nicole, Jordan, Will J.
School: University of Pennsylvania
Department: Educational Leadership
School Location: United States -- Pennsylvania
Source: DAI-A 82/1(E), Dissertation Abstracts International
Subjects: Educational leadership, Public Health Education
Keywords: K-12, Othering, Safety, School, Security
Publication Number: 27830053
ISBN: 9798662403949
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