Date of Award
Doctor of Education (EdD)
School of Education
Measuring school success using a variety of tools is commonplace in America.
For many years, one standard measurement of a school's success was The Blue Ribbon Award from 1982 through 2002. This award quantified success based on schools achieving successful outcomes in a variety of areas with specific criteria.
Blue Ribbon award winning schools are exceptional by Department of Education
standards. They are not exempt from school violence and the issues that plague other
schools. Academic success and awards do not prepare a school for the situation that
occurred at Columbine.
The participants I interviewed were Principals or Designees at 12 Blue Ribbon
Award winning high schools. All of the participants had knowledge of the policies,
procedures, practices, and programs at their institution. The schools were the recipients of the Blue Ribbon Award before and after the tragedy at Columbine High School under the previous Blue Ribbon criteria 1982-2002.
In an effort to discover what these schools have learned from Columbine the
guiding questions for this research were:
1. With regards to safety, what patterns emerged in the policies, procedures,
practices, and programs in 12 select Blue Ribbon Award winning schools
since the Columbine tragedy?
2. What is the lasting historical legacy of the Columbine tragedy?
I discovered themes in responses from Principals or Designees to the questions
that were insightful. The mantra of many schools is that the school is a community. The
notion of community is an all-inclusive group of individuals that create a better whole.
Nine schools in the study had a Safety Committee of those; six had a community member on the committee. These schools have achieved academic success through contemplative risk taking and have applied their guiding notions to safety education.
The review of literature is clear that many schools work under the guise of "it
can't happen here." I found that a majority of the schools in the study believe that a
serious incident could happen at their school and plan accordingly. These schools have
truly learned the ultimate lesson of Columbine.
Gust, Joseph, "Safety Changes in Blue Ribbon Schools Since the Attack on Columbine High School" (2009). Dissertations. 47.
Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 License.
Copyright © 2009 Joseph Gust