Assessing the Impact of Legal Issues on Private Boarding Schools

Open Access
Duncan, Angela Lydia
Graduate Program:
Educational Leadership
Doctor of Philosophy
Document Type:
Date of Defense:
February 23, 2009
Committee Members:
  • Dr Preston Green, Dissertation Advisor
  • Preston Green, Committee Chair
  • Jacqueline A Stefkovich, Committee Member
  • Nona Ann Prestine, Committee Member
  • Daniel Robert Cahoy, Committee Member
  • boarding schools
  • law
  • ethics
  • decision-making
  • turbulence theory
  • independent schools
This study was conducted to answer questions regarding if and how administrators at private boarding schools deal with legal issues which arise in the course of the daily operations of their schools. Specifically, it was designed to answer the following four research questions: (a) To what extent, if any, do legal issues impact boarding schools?; (b) Which specific legal issues have the greatest degree of impact on boarding schools?; (c) Why do these issues have a greater degree of impact on boarding schools than other legal issues?; and (d) Is there a way to better prepare a school to face these issues? Gross’s turbulence theory and its concepts of postitionality and cascading were used in helping to assess the level of disruption and possible causes. It was found that issues of contracts do affect administrators daily, that they most fear liability issues, and are most confounded by statutory and regulatory laws. However, more than the legality of these issues, administrators struggled with how following their legal obligations effected their decision-making process.