Defense Date


Graduation Date



Immediate Access

Submission Type


Degree Name



School Psychology


School of Education

Committee Chair

Tammy Hughes

Committee Member

Kara McGoey

Committee Member

Gibbs Kanyongo


Prevention intervention, Prosocial behavior, Safety kids, School safety


In order for schools to be successful in providing students with developmentally appropriate instruction and social experiences, an atmosphere of safety and protection is required. The recent spike in school shootings over the past 15 years has created a sense of urgency to examine the dynamics of school violence in order to generate and implement effective security measures (Brooks, Schiraldi, & Ziedenberg, 2000). Unlike traditional problem-focused approaches, the positive approach to school violence is preventive, solution-driven, and systemic. The positive approach to violence prevention at school focuses on building a set of social and emotional strengths that are incompatible with antisocial behavior. Recently researchers have focused on determining the positive behaviors that could potentially stop aggressive situations from progressing. These helping behaviors are defined broadly as prosocial behaviors (Cashwell, Skinner, & Smith, 2001; Goldstein, Carr, Davidson, & Wehr, 1981; Greener, 2000; Leffler & Snow, 2001). Research on child development suggests that one of the most effective ways for school to encourage prosocial behavior is through school-wide programs designed to teach and model social skills. The current study sought to evaluate the effectiveness of a comprehensive school wide prevention program intervention called Be a Safety Kid in kindergarten through third grade students. It also sought to assess the validity and stability over time of the corresponding pretest/post-test measure termed, the S.T.A.R. instrument. Results of a confirmatory factor analysis (CFA) suggested that the three factor structure of the S.T.A.R. instrument remained stable overtime and but inconsistently described the data for the first, second, and third grade instruments. CFA results from the kindergarten S.T.A.R. instrument indicated a poor fit based on the data collected. Repeated measure ANOVA results indicated students showed significant improvement in prosocial knowledge and anticipated ability to demonstrate prosocial behaviors after receiving the Be a Safety Kid curriculum; however, no significant improvement in perception of school safety was observed. Outcomes discussed add to the existing literature of evidence-based practices designed to reduce violence in the school environment.