Safety of Missouri Middle School Science Facilities

Date of Graduation

Summer 2004


Master of Science in Education in Secondary Education in Natural Science


College of Natural and Applied Sciences

Committee Chair

Georgianna Saunders


This study investigates the compliance of middle school science classrooms in Missouri to safety standards. The need for safe science classrooms is addressed, state and national facility standards are examined, the benefits for maintaining a safe science classroom are presented, and the role of school administrators in assisting the science teacher is discussed. A survey was created by using measurable facility safety standards set by the Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education. This survey was sent to a sample size of 255 schools, three-fourths of the middle and junior schools in Missouri. The science department chair at each school was responsible for evaluating the science rooms for the identified safety standards and responding for compliance. Over 54 percent of the surveys were returned. The facility safety standards that were the most absent from science rooms were a safety shower or a hand-held sprayer, two separate exits with outward opening doors, heat/smoke detectors, shut-offs for utilities, and an annual science room evaluation for safety. Science rooms had greater compliance with the standards for fire extinguisher, functioning sinks, properly wired and tested electrical outlets, posted safety rules, and a fire blanket. Science teachers were also given an opportunity to express their opinions of safety in the scienc room and their school administration's support. Correlations of school and teacher data were identified with the safety standards. Significant correlations were identified between a teacher's self determined awareness and a school's compliance with safety standards, student population, and years of teaching experience. Significant correlations were also found between a teacher's self awareness and the facility standards that are most easily controlled by a knowledgeable teacher. Science teachers that discover a room is out of compliance with safety standards can begin with no cost or low cost standards to make progress toward a more safe middle school science facility.


science, safety, middle school, Missouri, standards

Subject Categories

Science and Mathematics Education


© Gregory S. Gillham