Defense Date


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy


Special Education

First Advisor

Kevin Sutherland

Second Advisor

Yaoying Xu

Third Advisor

Donna Gibson

Fourth Advisor

Maureen Conroy


Students belonging to racially minoritized groups experience more frequent and intense disciplinary consequences for similar rule violations as their White peers. Factors such as deficit-oriented perceptions and implicit biases among teachers have contributed to the disproportionate exclusion of racially minoritized students, thus negatively affecting their social, emotional, behavioral, and school success. Using semi-structured interviews, this study sought to explore elementary school teachers’ views on the intersectionality between race/culture and student behaviors. Additionally, it also examined their experiences using behavior interventions effective for racially minoritized students. Findings suggest that participants often attributed challenging behaviors to student-level factors such as family and community culture, faced challenges such as backlash from communities and families, and reported using group contingency behavior interventions to support minoritized students with behavioral challenges. Future research should examine the use of the behavior interventions using direct observation measures to record teacher behaviors, in addition to interview responses to accurately measure their skills and knowledge. Finally, study limitations and implications for practice are discussed.


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