Authoritarian and Educational Safety Measures Affecting School Climate in Rural Southwest Ohio

Date of Award


Degree Name

Ph.D. in Educational Leadership


Department of Educational Administration


Advisor: David Dolph


Exposure to school violence has adverse effects on student academic performance and behavior. A safe school environment is essential for student and staff safety and achievement. Safety approaches include authoritative measures, which use security cameras, metal detectors, and controlled building access; and educational measures that include specially designed curricula, mental health services, and the development of social skills. It is unknown whether school administrators perceive authoritarian or educational approaches to safety as more effective in creating a safe and positive school climate. This study explored the perceptions of school administrators about the effectiveness of each approach in establishing and maintaining a safe school climate. The National Institute of Justice Comprehensive School Safety Framework served as the theoretical framework. Research questions explored the perceptions of 7-12 building principals and district superintendents regarding how organizational climate is affected and improved based on the type of safety practices used by the district. Data were collected from surveys and interviews with administrators from 10 rural school districts in southwest Ohio. The approach was qualitative with a basic interpretative design. The study contributes to school safety research by helping school leaders make informed decisions about school safety approaches and strategies.


School Safety School Climate Authoritative Safety Measures Educational Safety Measures Positive Organizational Climates

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