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Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

A Case Study of Significant Disproportional Discipline of African American Students in Special Education: Inquiry in a Suburban School District
by Barton-Vasquez, Katherine Anne, Ed.D., Loyola Marymount University, 2018, 243; 10745060
Abstract (Summary)

In U.S. school districts, African American special-education students are disciplined more heavily than other students. This case study examined how a suburban high school district in Southern California addressed disproportionality and significant disproportionality in the discipline of African American students with disabilities. The study gathered qualitative data through interviews with 28 of the district’s employees—including officials, administrators, psychologists, security officers, teachers, and classified staff—and analysis of the interviews, along with relevant documents and field notes.

This research provides an overall picture of the challenges involved in overcoming disproportionality and significant disproportionality in student discipline, especially those of marginalized groups, and suggests ways to improve school programs. The study highlights the importance of taking cultural issues into account as they relate to employing effective disciplinary tactics, especially for African American special-education students. Findings indicate that district employees may not clearly understand which student population the California Department of Education (CDE) has identified as disciplined disproportionally or significantly disproportionally (African American students in general or African American special-education students) and that current practices have been inefficient in addressing the issue of significant disproportionality. The findings also demonstrate a systemic racism and favoritism of students who embody White hegemonic values and that this impact is represented in the significantly disproportional discipline of African American students with disabilities. The findings support the need for school communities to discuss the best ways to teach African American special-education students and create a targeted approach to dealing with the excessive discipline of this population rather than continuing with the current generic approach.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Reilly, Elizabeth
Commitee: Graf, Victoria, McCarthy, Martha
School: Loyola Marymount University
Department: Education
School Location: United States -- California
Source: DAI-A 79/07(E), Dissertation Abstracts International
Subjects: African American Studies, Black studies, Educational leadership, Educational administration, Special education, Secondary education
Keywords: African-American, Case study, Discipline, Disproportionality, Significant disproportionality, Special education
Publication Number: 10745060
ISBN: 978-0-355-65461-5
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