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School Climate, Student Discipline, and the Implementation of School Resources Officers

Award Information

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Funding First Awarded
Total funding (to date)

Description of original award (Fiscal Year 2016, $370,307)

Statement of the Problem: Although school resource officers (SROs) are one of the most common interventions for enhancing school safety, relatively little is known about their effects on schools. Existing theoretical frameworks and prior research indicate that SROs may have effects on both school climate and student discipline. However, there are competing perspectives that provide contradictory expectations about the effects of SROs-some indicate that SROs should improve school climate and decrease rates of student discipline whereas others indicate the opposite. The purpose of this study, therefore, is to estimate the impact of SRO implementation on school climate and student discipline, as well as whether these 1 effects vary across different races, school contexts, and SROs' roles. In the first quarter of this study, we will assemble a school-level data set from multiple data sources published annually from the 2000-01 through 2015-16 school years that provide information about student, parent, and school personnel perspectives on school climate, student discipline, and characteristics of school context across all schools in a single school district (N = 155). Additionally, this study will include the collection of primary data about the implementation of SROs district-wide as well as the roles of SROs in the schools. These data will come from the Jefferson County School District and Louisville Metro Police Department in Louisville, Kentucky. The second and third quarters of the study will be devoted largely to data analysis. Using a multiple group piecewise latent growth curve modeling approach, this study will use the longitudinal data to estimate trends in school climate and student discipline both before and after the implementation of SROs, as well as in a matched comparison group, allowing for stronger estimates of the effects of SRO implementation than are currently permitted in the extant literature. Qualitative interviews will be analyzed using a grounded theory approach to better understand how school context shapes the roles and responsibilities of SROs. The work in the third and fourth quarter of this study will yield final products including quantitative and qualitative data sets archived with NACJD, manuscripts submitted for publication in peer-reviewed journal articles for both researcher and practitioner audiences, presentations at national conferences, guidebooks for schools and law enforcement agencies, and trainings for the local agencies who facilitated this study. This study has the potential to inform research on SROs, policies around the use of SROs, and practices pertaining to how SROs interact with students and other stakeholders. ca/ncf
Date Created: September 14, 2016