Date Awarded


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education (Ed.D.)




The purpose of this study was to investigate the relationship between the written student control policies established by Virginia school boards and the principles of law found in recent federal court decisions related to student conduct. The researcher also examined the number of student control policies in relation to school division size and location. A further purpose was to relate such policies to school laws contained in the Code of Virginia.;The population for the study consisted of all the school divisions in Virginia, one hundred thirty-seven (137) at the time of this study. of this number, one hundred thirty-one (131) divisions had usable policy manuals since some divisions were combined under one school board. These manuals were made available to the researcher through the Virginia State Department of Education.;All the policy manuals were examined by the researcher through a method known as content analysis. Essentially, hypotheses are formulated; a sample of content is selected; categories are defined; documents are read and coded, using the categories as a guide; content data are tabulated; data are scaled or otherwise statistically treated; and interpretations are made in light of the hypotheses posed.;It was hypothesized that (1) the content of Virginia school board policy manuals matched the categories of student control policies chosen for the study; (2) the content of the manuals agreed with the principles of law found in selected student control federal court decisions, 1965 to 1979; (3) the number of written student control policies varied with school division size and location; and (4) the content of the manuals reflected student control statutes in the Code of Virginia.;It was concluded that most board manuals did not contain all categories of student control policies. The categories which appeared more frequently were health and safety standards, weapons and drugs, and student records. Nor were the board student control policies in agreement with recent court decisions except in areas such as suspension and expulsion, drugs, due process procedures, and corporal punishment. Policy manuals did vary in content according to the size and location of the school division. It was also determined that Virginia statutes for student control did not agree with the content of the manuals except in areas such as civil rights, health and safety standards, administrative standards, and weapons and drugs.



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