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Date of Award


Document Type

Dissertation - Pacific Access Restricted

Degree Name

Doctor of Education (Ed.D.)


Educational Administration and Leadership

First Advisor

Dennis Brennan

First Committee Member

Kellie Cain

Second Committee Member

Tony Serna

Third Committee Member

Suzan Turner


The Safe and Drug-Free Schools and Communities Act of 2002, which operates under the No Child Left Behind Act of 2001, requires school districts to implement substance abuse and violence prevention programs to prevent or reduce substance use/abuse and violence and to decrease risk factors and increase protective factors that contribute to healthy child development without providing adequate funding to implement the mandate. The inadequacy of funding does not support the most effective strand of programs: community and family-based or environmental programs. An on-line survey of 43 elementary school principals was conducted to establish their knowledge and perceptions of the implementation of science-based substance abuse and violence prevention programs. The responses produced mixed results. The participants reported generally positive experiences with the implementation process of research-base prevention programs, but they admitted a lack of skill regarding implementation of community and family-focused research-based prevention programs due to their inexperience with the environmental programs. The participating principals also stated that they experienced frustration with the lack of time and the lack of funds to properly implement the research-based prevention programs. The administrators indicated they were knowledgeable about these research-based substance abuse and violence prevention programs; however, some of their responses revealed their lack of knowledge in distinguishing the difference between actual research-based programs that are on the State Board of Education's approved list and other prevention programs that are marketed. The elementary school principals in this study generally reported positive perceptions of the implementation of research-based substance abuse and violence prevention programs, including the following advantages that were supported by the literature: science-based substance abuse and violence prevention programs prevent or reduce substance use/abuse and violence and student discipline problems, and these programs increase protective factors and decrease risk factors in the lives of students and/or their families. Stated disadvantages about the amount of time required to implement the research-based prevention programs, the lack of training, and the inadequacy of funding yielded some negative perceptions. Recommendations for educational administrators include providing extensive training for site principals and teachers in prevention science and in identifying at-risk students and their needs for prevention services. In addition, administrators were encouraged to collaborate more with their communities in an effort to provide the more meaningful and effective environmental strand: community and family-oriented research-based substance abuse and violence prevention programs.





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