Principal Perceptions of Training Needs in School Safety in Virginia
This study examined the types of training that school principals currently have and perceive they need in order to effectively address school safety and respond to crisis events. Elementary, middle, and high school principals across the Commonwealth of Virginia were surveyed utilizing an adjusted version of the School Safety Needs Training Survey constructed by the Virginia Department of Criminal Justice Services Virginia Center for School Safety. Out of the total 1,791 surveys sent out, 648 surveys were returned, resulting in a 36 percent response rate. Analyses of Variances (ANOVA) and descriptive statistics were run on the data, and Bonferroni post hoc tests for significance were conducted in order to examine differences in the perceived training needs of principals based on level of administration. Findings indicated that principals had the most training on the school safety topics of medical emergencies, managing bomb threats, and responding to crisis incidents. Principals at the elementary, middle, and high school levels all reported that they needed more training in the area of dealing with disruptive and assaultive students and intervening with angry and abusive parents and family members. Significant differences were found between elementary and middle school principals and elementary and high school principals. Findings indicate that middle and high school principals were more concerned with receiving training on topics that dealt with violent and criminal activity than elementary school principals.