Statement of the Problem: Recent history has shown that shootings, weapon-related incidents, and terroristic threats are a reality of the modern American educational system. Although the U.S. Department of Education, along with many state departments of education provide recommendations and guidance for crisis response (including active shooter and other violent scenarios), it is not well understand what schools and districts are actually doing to prepare for violent emergencies. We also do not know about variation in state or district mandates and recommendations, how school or district characteristics drive the adoption of specific plans/procedures, or the processes of implementation in schools, including the advantages, challenges, or barriers pertaining to specific strategies.
Subjects: The target sample is all superintendents/school safety directors for school districts in the United States.
Partnerships: RTI International has no partners for this project. Research Design and Methods: In Phase I, we will conduct a content analysis of state Department of Education websites to identify what mandates, policy guidelines, and recommendations pertaining to preparedness for violent emergencies are handed down to districts and schools. In Phase II, we will conduct a national web survey of districts to better understand how prepared they are for events of serious violence and elaborate on plans, guidelines, and policies that are in place district-wide. In Phase III, using agency websites, we will conduct a content analysis of district plans and procedures as they relate to violent emergencies. Finally, in Phase IV, we will conduct school-level telephone interviews with personnel from a sample of schools within districts that participated in Phase II to collect information on school-level violent emergency plans, policies, and procedures. Analysis: Results from the content analyses will be coded using a standardized rubric, and analyzed qualitatively to uncover common themes and variation across states / districts. Results from the national survey will be analyzed using frequency distributions, bivariate association tests, and multivariate regression techniques. Telephone interview data will be analyzed using qualitative software; coders will use deductive and inductive approaches to identify important themes in the data. Products, Reports, and Data Archiving: The final report will contribute valuable knowledge regarding emergency preparedness for violent events in schools. One component will be taxonomies of states and districts that describe state/district orientations towards violent emergency preparedness. The project will yield rich quantitative and qualitative datasets that will be archived with the National Archive of Criminal Justice Data (NACJD). ca/ncf