Teachers leaving the profession: the influence of violent student behavior on teacher attrition in Pennsylvania's public schools.
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McPherson, Patricia R.
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This study was conducted to develop a descriptive profile of school administrators responsible for human resources management in Pennsylvania’s public school districts relative to their perception of violent student behavior’s influence on teacher attrition in their district. Guiding the study were five research questions: (a) What do school district administrators responsible for human resources management perceive to be the reasons for teacher attrition in Pennsylvania’s public schools? (b) What perceptions do school district administrators responsible for human resources management have on the influence of violent student behavior on teacher attrition in Pennsylvania’s public schools? (c) How have human resources management policies and procedures changed as a result of violent student behavior in Pennsylvania’s public schools? (d) What is the role of human resources management in creating and maintaining a safe working environment for teachers in Pennsylvania’s public schools? (e) What current and/or future plans exist in Pennsylvania’s public school districts for proactive interventions against violent student behavior and its affect on teacher attrition? Study participants were school administrators responsible for human resources management from 186 selected public school districts in Pennsylvania. Analysis of archival data obtained from the Pennsylvania Department of Education’s Office of Safe Schools provided a framework for selection criteria. From 2000 through 2004 school years selected participants maintained an average of 2% or above violent student behavior incidents, 2% or above violent student offenders, and 1 or more staff assaulted by student offenders. Administrators responsible for human resources management in 186 selected Pennsylvania public school districts were invited to participate in the study through a web-based survey sent via email with the option to volunteer in a follow-up interview. Of the 84 administrators who responded to the web-based survey, 26 volunteered to participate in the follow-up interview. Data analysis exhibited frequencies and percentages indicating major themes relative to the topic. Findings revealed that Pennsylvania’s public school district administrators responsible for human resources management perceive violent student behavior has little influence on teacher attrition. Study participants believe intervention programs, staff training, safety awareness, and ongoing communication have reduced violent student behavior and teacher attrition in their district.
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