Title

Teachers' Perceptions of African American Students, Corporal Punishment, and Special Education

Date of Award

2004

Degree Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Department

Educational Studies and Research

First Advisor

T. Collette Smith

Advisor Department

Educational Studies and Research

Abstract

According to Jackson (1999) African American students are more likely to be administered the practice of corporal punishment in disproportionate numbers then students of other ethnicities. McMillan and Reschley (1998), found that African American students are disproportionately placed in self-contained special education classrooms. The purpose of this study was to provide educators with useful data that can assist in reducing the number of African American students who are disproportionately overrepresented in self-contained special education classrooms. One hundred and thirty-six surveys were mailed to eight different elementary schools in two different urban school districts in the Eastern half of the United States. Four of the elementary schools were in a school district that does not permit the use of corporal punishment and the other four elementary schools were in a school district that does permit the use of corporal punishment. One hundred and thirty surveys were completed and returned to the researcher. The results from this study indicate that significant differences do exist between teachers who work in a school district that does not allow the use of corporal punishment and teachers who work in a school district that does allow the use of corporal punishment. Teachers who work in a school district that does allow the use of corporal punishment generally believe corporal punishment is effective at reducing the number of referrals of African American students made to special education. Teachers who work in a school district that does not allow the use of corporal punishment generally do not believe corporal punishment is effective. Additionally, teachers who work in a school district that does allow the use of corporal punishment were generally found not to perceive that there is an overrepresentation of African American students in self-contained special education classrooms. This group of teachers also indicated that they generally do not perceive that African American students are administered corporal punishment in disproportionate numbers. Teachers who work in a school district that does not allow the use of corporal punishment generally were found to perceive that African American students are overrepresented in self-contained special education classrooms. This group of teachers also indicated that they generally do perceive that African American students are administered corporal punishment in disproportionate numbers when compared to students of other ethnicities. Finally, African American teachers in general indicated that they do believe African American students are administered corporal punishment in disproportionate numbers when compared to students of other ethnicities. African American teachers also indicated more so than teachers representing other ethnicities that they generally do believe that corporal punishment is effective at reducing the number referrals made of African American students to special education.