An Examination of Perceptions and Beliefs Concerning School Safety Among School Principals and School Resource Officers in Kentucky

David C. May, Eastern Kentucky University
Shannon Means, Kentucky Center for School Safety

In recent years, many states have increased the presence of law enforcement at schools as a response to a perception that schools have become unsafe places for children. The data regarding the impact of school resource officers (SROs) on school safety are limited, however. Using survey data collected from over 100 SROs and principals, this paper examines the impact of SROs in Kentucky and compares their perceptions and beliefs about school safety with that of principals in Kentucky public schools. Preliminary findings indicate that most SROs in Kentucky are relatively new to the SRO job and are often responsible for providing service to two or more schools. Further, the comparision of data from both principals and SROs revealed that both principals and SROs feel that renewed funding is essential for the SRO program to be successful. The findings also reveal some level of disagreement between SROs and principals regarding the role of the SRO in the school setting and some level of lack of cooperation between SROs and principals. The implication of these findings and their impact on future policy is also discussed.

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Updated 05/20/2006