School of Education


Doctor of Education (EdD)


Andrea P. Beam


Litigation, School Law, Special Education, Teachers


Disability and Equity in Education | Education | Other Education | Special Education Administration | Special Education and Teaching


The purpose of this transcendental phenomenological study was to explore litigious experiences for special education teachers in South Central Pennsylvania. It was known that teachers are not typically required to have courses on school law, but they are required to abide by educational law. This study was guided by the following research question: How do special education teachers in South Central Pennsylvania describe their litigious experiences? It sought to fill a gap in the literature in the area of actual teacher experience with the problem of litigation. Background information was given to show why this issue was a current problem and how this study sought to address the problem, and an examination of current literature was conducted to show how this study filled the current gap. The data for the study relied primarily on participant interviews and public record documentation from 11 participants. When the data was analyzed, four themes emerged: internalized stress, lack of confidence in present knowledge, lack of personal responsibility for the litigation, and guarding against the possibility of future litigious experiences. The implications for these themes were also discussed.