Date of Graduation

12-2015

Document Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy in Counselor Education (PhD)

Degree Level

Graduate

Department

Rehabilitation, Human Resources and Communication Disorders

Advisor

Roy Farley

Committee Member

Kristin Higgins

Second Committee Member

John Pijanowski

Third Committee Member

Toni Thorn

Abstract

Minimal research has been conducted to examine school counselors’ lived experiences of rampage school shootings. The purpose of this research is to increase school counselors’ knowledge and skills in responding effectively to such a crisis. A single-case qualitative dissertation study was completed at a rampage school shooting site, a middle school, and the immediate surrounding area in Bono, AR, located in the northeast part of Arkansas. School counselors’ decisions, perceived expertness, and lessons learned were investigated. Data collected included relevant research literature (including comparison research), archival records, direct observation, media reports, and interviews. Participants interviewed were individuals who lived through the crisis: two previous elementary school counselors, the previous middle school counselor, the previous middle school principal, the previous school psychologist, the previous elementary school art teacher and bus driver, a parent of a previous middle school student, and a previous middle school student. Theoretical integration was used as an analytical strategy and assisted in interpreting the data. A working conceptual framework was generated from the study, the ‘School Counselors’ Response to School Shootings’ framework (S.C.R.S.S.). The conceptual framework provides informed and helpful actions that school counselors may take for preparation, in-crisis protocol, and post-crisis responses to a rampage school shooting. Other benefiters of the study include crisis response planners, school crisis teams, counselor educators, researchers, school counselor supervisors, counselor crisis leaders, principals, superintendents, and state and national counseling organizations. Recommendations for implementation, practice, and further research are included.

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