Date of Award

Spring 2013

Project Type


Program or Major


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy

First Advisor

Todd DeMitchell


While many studies related to school violence and its prevention have focused on the perceptions of elementary students and counselors, there is a dearth of research studies that focus on the perceptions of administrators and teachers. This study examines Massachusetts public middle and high school principals, assistant principals, and teachers (n=135), from 30 schools, perceptions of their peer mediation program's impact on student conflicts. Comparisons between administrators and between levels of schools were conducted to provide a finer grain for the analysis.

Methodology: The method of data collection is a mixed, hybrid methodology of 41 quantitative (closed-end) and quasi-quantitative (open-ended) survey questions. The survey instrument was a 10-page, self-administered on-line questionnaire delivered through Survey Monkey, analyzed through descriptive statistics utilizing a comparison of numbers, percentages, and post hoc chi square to determine the differences between the perceptions of administrators and teachers, and differences between their responses as educators in middle school and high school.

Findings: The findings indicate that administrators and teachers are concerned about student conflict and violence in their schools; administrators and teachers perceive that peer mediation programs successfully reduce conflict and increase individual student positive behaviors, while only administrators perceive that peer mediation reduces school-wide negative behaviors; similarities and differences exist between middle and high school perceptions that peer mediation successfully reduces conflict, increases positive student behavior, and provides a safe school climate; administrators and teachers perceive there is an unequal distribution of resources that contribute to peer mediation program success; and the top three barriers to successful programs are funding for mediator training, training for faculty/staff, and personnel.

Keywords: student conflict, school violence prevention, peer mediation programs, principals' perceptions, conflict resolution, middle schools, high schools.