Date of Conferral



Doctor of Public Administration (D.P.A)


Public Policy and Administration


Linda Sundstrom


This qualitative study contributes to the limited body of knowledge on cybersecurity in middle schools beyond awareness programs. The purpose was to develop a pilot training module for middle school students comprising an analysis of public documents to examine what topics should be included in a pilot training program to reduce problematic cyber practices. Attitude functional theory was used as the conceptual framework to provide insights into the process of persuading a positive behavioral change in a targeted group that is sustainable. A systematic analysis of national, state, and local public documents was conducted to compare practices, including a K–12 data breach national report, to understand what topics should be included in the pilot training module. The findings showed the need for training programs to further awareness; lead to positive outcomes, such as persuading students to take a more active role in their online safety; go beyond awareness training; and motivate students to sustain a positive behavioral change. A recommended implementation framework is described along with a pamphlet and corresponding Canvas module divided into quarterly lessons. These lessons are designed to ensure a positive social change by motivating and increasing student knowledge, targeting the middle school age range to reduce end-user cyber vulnerabilities.