Educator Sexual Abuse in Virginia: A Policy Study

Grant, Billie-Jo Elizabeth, Curry School of Education, University of Virginia
Heinecke, Walter, Curry School of Education, University of Virginia
Bulter, Alfred
Covert, Robert, Curry School of Education, University of Virginia
Kaplan, Claire, Women's Center, University of Virginia

By understanding how educator sexual abuse reporting and prevention policies are interpreted and enacted by a variety of actors networked in the policy arena, this study sought to determine if such policies are substantive or symbolic in nature. Utilizing a value-critical policy analysis (Rein, 1976), this policy implementation study (Yin, 1982) investigated how state K-12 educator sexual abuse polices are defined and implemented by a variety of policy actors at various levels of an intergovernmental system of public schools in the State of Virginia. Employing a qualitative case study design drawing on interviews with 46 educational actors and government employees, and extensive document analysis, the purpose of this study was to evaluate the following issues regarding public school educator sexual abuse policies: (a) understanding and policy interpretation, (b) implementation, (c) collaboration among government entities, (d) prevalence rates, and (e) policy evaluation procedures. Participant interviews and data collection for this study supported the following assertions: (a) lack of policy implementation, (b) lack of reporting, (c) system challenges, (d) a mismanaged intergovernmental system, (e) ineffective data collection, (f) lack of evaluation, and (g) recommendations for improvement. The conclusions suggest that educator sexual abuse policies are not implemented at the local level and may be contributing to the continued prevalence of educator sexual abuse. DEDICATION To the victims. May this study help to improve a broken system.

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PHD (Doctor of Philosophy)
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