Florida high school students; Osceola County; Attitudes; safety measures; school violence


This study was designed to investigate the factors that contributed to high school students' sense of security at school, and what these students perceived as measures that if put in place, would increase their feelings of security. The focus was the relationship between students' perceptions of safety at school and their own opinions of school and their experiences at school.

The study was conducted in the School District of Osceola County, Florida. The population of this study was comprised of all students enrolled in the public high schools in the School District of Osceola County. The sample for the study consisted of 354 students from four English classes on six high school campuses within the school district.

The Safety Climate Survey, an instrument developed by the researcher was administered to the students during the Fall of 2002. The survey consisted of 5 sections: opinions of school, experiences at school, safety measures, safety concerns, and a demographics section.

Results from the study indicated that relationships existed between students' opinions of school and their perceived sense of safety at school; and between students' experiences, particularly victimization experiences, at school and their sense of safety. The strongest correlation between perceived sense of safety and personal experiences existed for student who had been the victims of bullying or threatened by someone at school.

Also indicated was that students' victimization experiences at school were related to the decision to carry a weapon to school. Experiences such as being bullied at school, having been physically assaulted at school, and having been threatened by someone with a weapon at school related solidly to a student's decision to carry a weapon to school. Peer weapon carrying, disruptive behavior such as fighting, and suspension were also related to the decision to carry a weapon.

Data from the study further suggested violence preventive and interventive strategies that would increase students' sense of safety at school. Initiatives indicated by student respondents that would increase their sense of safety were a wider selection of extra-curricular activities, more adults to talk to on campus, more school resource officers, and more school-wide safety assemblies.

Students also indicated what they perceived as the most serious safety issues on their school campuses. Weapons on campus were seen as the number one safety concern. This was followed respectively by racial tensions, bullying, and campus security. Drugs were seen as the least serious safety concern.

Graduation Date





Bozeman, William C.


Doctor of Education (Ed.D.)


College of Education


Educational Research, Technology, and Leadership




156 p.




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Doctoral Dissertation (Open Access)




Dissertations, Academic -- Education; Education -- Dissertations, Academic

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