Date of Award

5-2021

Culminating Project Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Educational Administration and Leadership, K-12: Ed.D.

Department

Educational Administration and Higher Education

College

School of Education

First Advisor

John Eller

Second Advisor

David Lund

Third Advisor

Amy Christensen

Fourth Advisor

Frances Kayona

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License.

Keywords and Subject Headings

teachers who carry concealed handguns, school shootings on American campuses, case against teachers carrying guns at school, case for teachers carrying guns at school, non-lethal suggestions for school safety

Abstract

Fifteen states in America have laws that allow schools to arm their workforce and legislation to allow teachers to carry a concealed weapon is pending in at least nine other states (Owen, 2018). Still, no studies were found in the literature that listed the challenges and experiences of educators who carry concealed handguns into school buildings. Therefore, it is desirable to conduct research that examines the perspectives of these teachers and school administrators in order to provide information that may be of interest to educational leaders and the wider community.

This qualitative study conducted interviews with six classroom teachers and three school administrators from two schools in a rural district in Colorado. The study results revealed that most of the study participants were concerned about school security before their workforce was armed. They were worried about not having any armed guards at their schools, and the amount of time it would take for the police to reach their campuses in the event of a mass shooting at school. The participants felt that an armed workforce could respond in a timelier manner in the event of a shooting incident at their schools. The participants also indicated that their main challenge carrying a concealed handgun at school was selecting the right clothing to ensure that their weapon remains hidden.

All nine participants had to complete 26 hours of initial firearms training, target practice and three days of classroom evaluations before they were authorized to carry a concealed handgun. They must also attend re-current training each year to be certified to continue carrying a concealed handgun. More than half of the participants had prior experience with guns as three teachers were former members of the military and five others either had experience with firearms or had permits to carry a concealed handgun.

Comments/Acknowledgements

I am aware of how fortunate I am to reach the pinnacle of my educational ambition, regardless of how hard I worked. In life, one must be lucky to be able to study.

To Dr. John Eller, my dissertation committee chair, his guidance and wise suggestions were absolutely valuable as I completed this assignment. I want to thank Dr. David Lund, Dr. Amy Christensen and Dr. Frances Kayona for their knowledgeable contributions.

I would also like to thank individuals at St. Cloud State University who were very instrumental in helping me in many different ways so that I can get this paper completed. I must mention Dr. Michele Braun-Heurung, Dr. Ben Witts, Shei Sz, Dr. Miltenoff Plamen, Dr. Julie Przekwas and all the staff members at the financial aid office.

I am grateful for the help offered by the Executive Director at FASTER Colorado, Laura Carno and my colleague, Scott Wood for helping me to find teachers willing to participate in my study.

I am truly indebted to professor, Annalisa Buerke at the University of Northwestern, St. Paul who encouraged me to remain in school to finish my first degree when I considered dropping out due to personal and professional challenges in my life in 2011. I cannot imagine getting this far without following her wise counsel.

I would also like to thank all of my colleagues, and all of my family and friends for their everlasting support, encouragement, and belief in me.

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