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Dealing with student violent writing in the English classroom: A framework for public school administrators

Gretchen A Oltman, University of Nebraska - Lincoln

Abstract

The purpose of this qualitative study was to create a framework for public school administrators dealing with student violent writing in response to a classroom assignment. English teachers are often taught to encourage creativity in student writing. Current teaching theories include the idea of freewriting where students write freely without censoring their ideas. However, when a student responds to a school assignment with a violent response, a school administrator is generally alerted and must deal with the issue. The literature reviewed for this study included education textbooks, journal articles, and law review articles. The study analyzed both federal and state cases dealing with the topic of student writing as part of a classroom assignment. Particular attention was paid to the administrator responses as presented in the factual record of the case law and these responses then led to the emerging themes. The themes were formulated into a set of guidelines for school administrators to consider when dealing with student violent writing as a response to a classroom assignment. Several guidelines emerged from this study: (1) be confident that some student expression can be regulated; (2) know that restricting student violent writing may undermine English teaching methods; (3) be knowledgeable about current English teaching practices and know how writing teachers in your building create boundaries in writing assignments; (4) listen carefully; (5) promote an atmosphere of honesty, respect, and care throughout your entire school building; (6) avoid zero-tolerance policies that institute automatic penalties based on the content of student expression; (7) participate in threat assessment training and share that knowledge with your staff; (8) maintain specific and thorough documentation of student violent writing; (9) act in a timely fashion when dealing with student violent writing; and (10) stay up-to-date on changes in education law. ^ These guidelines were described in detail and should help public school administrators prepare to respond to student violent writing as a response to a classroom assignment in a constitutional fashion. ^

Subject Area

Education, Language and Literature|Education, Administration|Language, Rhetoric and Composition

Recommended Citation

Oltman, Gretchen A, "Dealing with student violent writing in the English classroom: A framework for public school administrators" (2009). ETD collection for University of Nebraska - Lincoln. AAI3350257.
http://digitalcommons.unl.edu/dissertations/AAI3350257

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