Publication Date


DOI (Digital Object Identifier)



Leadership and Higher Education


Doctor of Education (Ed.D)

Dissertation Chair

Rodney Goodyear, Ph.D.

Committee Members

Ross Mitchell, Ph.D.

Robert Denham, Ph.D.


philosophy, religion and theology; education; discipline; education; ethics; gender; principal; race; school; sexting


Educational Leadership


This mixed-methods study was designed to determine how principals perceived the ethicality of sanctions for students engaged in sexting behavior relative to the race/ethnicity and gender of the student. Personality traits of the principals were surveyed to determine if Openness and/or Conscientiousness would predict principal response. Sexting is a recent phenomenon that school administrators are confronting often with little formal guidance. It is a value laden issue that lends itself well to ethical inquiry. Research tools used in this study were (a) portions of the Big Five Inventory, (b) the Multidimensional Ethics Scale (MES-10), (c) a manipulation check, and (d) two open-ended questions.

Findings included that when presented with the choice of two sanctions, one more lenient and the other more severe, the more severe sanction was perceived to be the more ethical, either sanction was perceived as more ethical when applied to the male student than to the female student, and regardless of whether the disposition was lenient or strict, the male participants perceived it to be less ethical for the African-American student and more ethical for the White student than did females.


© 2012 Margaret E. Moriarty

All Rights Reserved

ISBN: 9781267855091