Document Type


Publication Date

Fall 2002


One school characteristic that needs to be considered as important in keeping schools safe is school climate. The purposes of this study were to develop and validate an instrument that measures the ethical climate of middle and high schools. To create the School Ethical Climate Index (SECI), we adapted the Ethical Climate Index for graduate and professional school programs to apply to middle and high schools. The SECI measures a school’s sense of community by assessing student and teacher interactions and relationships through the application of five ethical principles: respect for autonomy, nonmaleficence, beneficence, justice, and fidelity. To provide evidence of the SECI’s reliability and validity, we distributed the SECI to 101 teachers and administrators who worked at middle and/or high schools. The reliability coefficients for each of the SECI subscales were greater than .80. Differences between middle and high school teacher and administrator perceptions provided evidence of construct validity. The SECI could be used in school districts to assess areas for school improvement and, thereby, help to reduce school disorder and violence.


Published in the School Community Journal, 12(2) 117-132. Used by permission.