Electronic Thesis and Dissertation Repository


Master of Arts




Dr. Susan Rodger


Various social determinants hinder children's optimal functioning, particularly, poverty. This study explored students’ perceptions of school safety, bullying behaviour, and school programming in a high needs school. Student responses on the Safe Schools Survey were analyzed and the effect of poverty on students’ perceptions of school safety and bullying behaviour were tested. The school’s bullying initiatives were assessed with the Safe Schools Checklist to determine the degree to which provincial- and board-level as well as evidence-based recommendations for safe schools were met. Three themes emerged from interviews with school personnel: 1) The school’s knowledge on the impact of the community on student needs and their behaviour in school; 2) The school’s role in meeting student needs; and 3) Barriers to creating a safe school for students. Based on the study’s findings, implications for schools and counselling practice are discussed. Future directions for research are identified.