Award Date


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Educational & Clinical Studies

First Committee Member

Tom Pierce

Second Committee Member

Kyle Higgins

Third Committee Member

Susan Miller

Fourth Committee Member

Richard Tandy

Number of Pages



Disproportionate representation in special education has been an enduring issue, even before P.L. 94-142. Though the main focus of research in the area of disproportionate representation has been on the placement of students from historically marginalized racial and ethnic groups into special education programs, disproportionality has been found in other areas such as the use of exclusionary practices and placement in correctional facilities. As more data regarding students with disabilities are accumulated, it is important to investigate current trends in order to ensure patterns of disproportionate representation are understood and perhaps remedied. This study focused on state level data reported by the states and Washington, D.C. under IDEA 2004. State level data sets involving the suspension/expulsion of students with disabilities and placement of students with disabilities in correctional facilities were analyzed using descriptive statistics, risk ratios, and Chi-square tests. The analysis focused on disability categories and the race/ethnicity categories of students with disabilities. Results from risk ratio analyses indicated students with emotional disturbances and students with disabilities identified as Black or African American were most likely to be suspended/expelled as well as placed in correctional facilities during the school years of 2007 to 2011. Chi-square test results were significant for most groups of students with disabilities and race/ethnicity groups of students with disabilities who were suspended/expelled as well as placed in correctional facilities during the school years of 2007 to 2011.


Behavior disorders in children; Children of minorities; Children with disabilities – Education; Disabilities; Discrimination in education; Disproportionality; Expulsion; Incarceration; Special education; Student expulsion; Student suspension; Suspension


Special Education and Teaching

File Format


Degree Grantor

University of Nevada, Las Vegas




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