School of Education


Doctor of Education in Curriculum & Instruction (EdD)


Margaret Ackerman


Special Education, School Discipline, Phenomenology, mothers


Education | Special Education and Teaching


The purpose of this transcendental phenomenological study was to understand what school discipline means to mothers of students with a disability at various school districts in Ohio, Michigan, Pennsylvania, and Virginia. School discipline was defined as the policies and procedures schools use to manage student behavior. This study was supported by Oliver’s social model theory, Bronfenbrenner’s ecological systems theory, and Bandura’s self-efficacy theory. The purpose of data collection in this qualitative, transcendental phenomenological study was to gather data so an empirical analysis could be completed of how mothers of students with a disability define school discipline. Interviews, focus groups, and timelines were used as the data sampling techniques with mothers of various ages and races who have children in assorted grades at different schools. Data were analyzed using the modification of the Stevick-Colaizzi Keen Method. Findings of this study showed mothers of students with disabilities experience school discipline policies and procedures through the conduct of school administration and teachers, the compliance with special education mandates, the application of various disciplinary consequences for their children, and through the communication with school staff. The theoretical, empirical, and practical implications for school administrators, teachers, and stakeholders demonstrate a need for clear, direct, and positive communication as well as the building of relationships with mothers of students with disabilities.