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Silent Witness: Tracing Campus Climate at Virginia Tech via Unobtrusive Measures, 2003-2017

Silent Witness: Tracing Campus Climate at Virginia Tech via Unobtrusive Measures, 2003-2017
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Author(s): Daisy Ball (Roanoke College, USA)
Copyright: 2022
Pages: 26
Source title: Impact of School Shootings on Classroom Culture, Curriculum, and Learning
Source Author(s)/Editor(s): Gordon A. Crews (The University of Texas Rio Grande Valley, USA)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-7998-5200-1.ch012

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Abstract

The present study traces campus climate at Virginia Tech, site of the deadliest school massacre in modern U.S. history, from 2003 to 2017. Using the unobtrusive method of content analysis as a measure of campus climate, data in the form of desktop graffiti—student-authored graffiti on classroom desktops—is analyzed according to amount and content. A total of 1,443 desks are studied, resulting in 8,172 pieces of intelligible graffiti analyzed. Data collected prior to the massacre is compared to data collected one semester, one year, and one decade following the massacre. From this emerges an unobtrusively painted picture of campus climate at Virginia Tech over the course of 14 years, spanning before and after tragic events. The present study adds to the literature on classroom culture post-campus violence and speaks to the subtler, often obscured, impacts of school shootings.

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