Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education (EdD)


Executive Leadership

First Supervisor

Dr. Anthony P. Chiarlitti

Second Supervisor

Dr. Kishon C. Hickman


This qualitative phenomenological narrative study examined the leadership experiences of 12 principals and assistant principals from a suburban New York school district. The study was based on school leaders' perceptions of the New York State Police Reform and Reinvention Collaborative Plan and the removal of school safety personnel. School leaders shared their perspectives in semi-structured interviews. All interviews were transcribed, coded, and reviewed. The study sought to optimize participant information and find new views on school safety personnel.

For this study, physical safety, school climate, and student conduct were identified as criteria as modeled in the theoretical approach of the National Institute of Justice (NIJ) (2020) comprehensive school safety framework. The participants identified 15 themes: relationships/mentoring, school-based enforcement, physical security, school safety planning, partnerships/roles and responsibilities, location/demographics, support/opposition, community culture/cultural responsiveness, mental health/trauma, connections/rapport, training, budget/finance, parental involvement, crisis management, and empathetic leadership. School administrators stressed the need for resources for mental health, support for parents, training in cultural sensitivity, and training in diversity.

The research will assist school leaders and districts in analyzing the dangers of defunding, reforming, and eliminating school safety personnel. The study also shows how school administrators react when safety staff are removed. The research will strengthen school leaders' understanding, access to information, and organizations' ability to manage high-risk circumstances and vulnerabilities. It's very important to give districts and administrators a model for strategic planning and the best ways to do things.

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