Date of Award

Spring 2023

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education (EdD)


College of Education


Department of Education

Primary Advisor

Dr. Susan K. Stanley

Second Advisor

Dr. Janet L. Deck

Third Advisor

Dr. Lisa Coscia


School shooting prevention has become a priority for educational leadership for nearly twenty years. The brutality and significant loss of life distinguish the attacks at Columbine High School and Sandy Hook Elementary School (Jonson, 2017). However, lawmakers encounter difficulty with the wide range of behaviors, program initiatives, and risk management efforts involved to ensure the safety of all children (Cowell & McDonald, 2018). Coincidentally, a national model for school-based emergency plans has not been identified, which leaves many school districts inadequately fit to keep the student population safe in the event a school shooting were to occur on a campus (Stough et al., 2018). With the unprecedented increase in school shootings, the revamping of school-wide procedures and emergency plans must encapsulate the needs of all students, including those individual students with significant disabilities (Embury et al., 2019). Programs (e.g., special education) need to include drafting school safety plans and preparation due to the complexity of limitations and severity of disabilities possessed by many students on campuses. The purpose of this case study was to describe the statewide policies that address safety measures and the limited considerations for vulnerable student populations regarding an active school shooter scenario on a campus. Following within-case and cross-case analysis of interviewees’ data and active shooter protocols provided by the Texas Education Agency, three themes emerged: procedures, preparation, and population. In the present study, thematic findings indicated a weakness in the current generalized safety plan, and improvement is necessary to increase the provision of campuses’ severe and profound populations. Therefore, the present study’s findings have practical implications for school safety awareness for educational leadership to consider.