ERIC Number: ED471860
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 2000-Oct
Adolescents' Perceptions of Safety at School and Their Solutions for Enhancing Safety and Reducing School Violence: A Rural Case Study.
An exploratory study of a small rural high school in upstate New York investigated students' perceptions of safety at school and empowered students to develop solutions to school violence. A mixed-methods approach drew on action research, youth-based phenomenology, and a general systems frame of reference. Data collection included two surveys of 10th-grade students; several focus groups; and interviews with students, teachers, and administrators. By chance, the two surveys were conducted before and after the violent events at Columbine High School in Littleton, Colorado. Students questioned whether adults in the school truly cared about them as people, felt that adults were unaware of what was going on in the school, and repeatedly expressed a need for more adult presence and intervention to increase students' sense of safety. Students described various types of bullying, including teasing and sexual harassment by peers and verbal intimidation by teachers, and pointed out the connections between bullying and the Columbine violence. Peer predictability and familiarity enhanced students' sense of safety, and this familiarity was enhanced by the school's small size. Students were opposed to high-tech solutions to school security and offered many suggestions, including ways of promoting a sense of belonging, moral and character education, and numerous points of building design. Policy implications are discussed with regard to bullying, school size, supervision, teachers' responsibility, and student participation in decision making. (Contains 31 references.) (SV)
Publication Type: Reports - Research; Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Note: Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the National Rural Education Association (Charleston, SC, October 2000).