Date Awarded


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education (Ed.D.)




James H. Stronge


Educators increasingly find themselves having to rely on laws for protection from threats or attacks, and educator assault laws reflect the diverse and unique needs of the individual states. This study sought to determine if the state legislatures in each of the 50 states have created legislation punishing educator assault and to compare, contrast, and analyze any existing statutes by using content analysis methodology. Currently, 37 states possess educator assault legislation. Specific features within each law were examined: its protected recipient, the prohibited action, identification of the aggressor, any limiting or qualifying statements, and the stated penalties. Several trends emerged; specifically, most educator assault laws carry enhanced penalties as compared to the general assault statutes of each state. Second, less than half the states have legislation which clearly prohibits students from committing educator assault. Third, incredible variability exists in the penalties for educator assault as written in the state laws. A final research question attempted to identify a relationship between ranked state crime data and ranked state penalties for educator assault. No relationship was discovered. Implications of this study include the acute need for better educator awareness and training so that legal options are more well-known and used; the need for state legislatures to collaborate, share information, and strengthen penalties for educator assault; and the demonstration that content analysis is a useful research tool for examination of education-related laws.



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