Lara K. Dial

Date of Award


Degree Name

Educational Leadership


College of Education and Professional Development

Type of Degree


Document Type


First Advisor

Linda Spatig

Second Advisor

Maudie Karickhoff

Third Advisor

Kathy Seelinger

Fourth Advisor

Leonard J. Deutsch


As a high school teacher, I have formulated a standing comeback for the complaints of my students who whine, “That’s not fair!” My retort is the very cliche, “Life’s not fair”. I tell my students they might as well get used to things that are unfair because they simply cannot go through the rest of their lives whining about it. If life is indeed unfair, students who choose to drop out of school are reducing the chance that they will experience their fair portion of “The good life”. While it is true that the dropout rate in the United States has been steadily decreasing over the last several decades, the fact remains that a student who chooses to drop out of school has a rough road ahead. Why should these at-risk students make their lives any more difficult in such an unfair world? What follows is a description of action research conducted in an attempt to understand at-risk high school students. I am especially interested in the reasons they feel alienated from and sometimes drop out of high school, and what the school could do to lessen the likelihood of these students dropping out.


High school dropouts – Ohio.

Education, Rural – Ohio.

Dropouts – Prevention.