This University of Missouri-St. Louis Comprehensive School Safety Initiative (UMSL CSSI) study enabled comparisons between student and personnel perceptions of school climate among an analytic sample of 2,741 students nested in 12 American middle schools (average age = 13.6; 54 percent female; 39 percent Black; and 39 percent White).
Research suggests that positive school environments contribute to lower levels of school disorder. Studies have also documented stark differences between how students and personnel perceive their schools. The current study examined such "perception discrepancies" as a dimension of the school environment, investigating the hypothesis that when students perceive their schools as less cohesive than their teachers, they are more likely to engage in delinquent conduct. The results of a series of hierarchical regression models demonstrated that students engaged in higher levels of delinquency when they perceived their school environments as less cohesive, on average, than do school personnel. This suggests that discrepancies among students and personnel concerning aspects of the school climate represent a deficiency in the school's ability to protect against student delinquency. 2 tables and 51 references (publisher abstract modified)