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Doctoral Dissertation Announcement
Candidate: Bethney Bergh
Doctor of Philosophy
Department: Educational Leadership, Research and Technology
Title: A Qualitative Study of School Lockdown Procedures and Teachers’ Ability to Conduct and Implement Them at the Classroom Level
Dr. Patricia Reeves, Chair
Dr. Walter Burt
Dr. Derek Anderson
Date: Friday, March 20, 2009 10:00 a.m. - 12:00 p.m.
3208 Sangren Hall
In response to the well-publicized crisis situations that have occurred in the nation’s schools, the development and implementation of school safety plans has become a priority of states and school districts across America. One element of these policies is the school lockdown procedure designed for securing a school building. The State of Michigan currently requires that all schools perform a minimum of two lockdown drills each school year.
The purpose of this qualitative, phenomenological study is to explore the experiences of teachers in order to create an awareness of how teachers assess their ability to conduct lockdowns effectively, to examine the emotional, physiological, cognitive and behavioral responses experienced by teachers during lockdowns, and to uncover teachers’ training needs for implementing and conducting lockdown procedures effectively.
To gain an understanding of the human behavior associated with lockdown procedures, as well as the meaning and purpose attached by participants, 16 middle and high school teachers from across the Upper Peninsula of Michigan participated in in-depth interviews.
This study reveals that teachers identify knowledge and understanding of the lockdown procedures practiced within their schools. The participants’ understanding of the procedures also reveals a level of confidence in their ability to conduct a lockdown in the event of a real situation.
This study also identifies that teachers have not received training that connects the human response to crisis to a teacher’s actual performance during a crisis. There is no connection made in current training practices between the participants’ knowledge of the procedures and their understanding of how a human’s response to a crisis situation might impact one’s ability to conduct the procedures in a real situation.
Additionally, this study reveals that, although there is a level of confidence in the ability to conduct the procedures, the participants expressed a concern or fear about school violence and a desire for more in-depth training that would allow for the practice of realistic scenarios. The results of this study provide a new source of information for those charged with developing school safety information and particularly the development of school lockdown training.