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Social Work


Dr. Chris Gjefjeld

Mentor Department

Social Work


Special education teachers should consider a multitude of factors when referring students for special education evaluation. The evaluation process- and potential eligibility- can become convoluted with personal bias, thus not prioritizing the child’s needs. Minority students are particularly susceptible to such bias, especially in predominantly White areas. To avoid promoting a special education culture which disproportionately impacts minority students, the present research seeks to identify existing correlations between students’ special education eligibility, racial identity, and their received behavioral infractions. The researchers wish to understand whether or not racial identity is related to students’ eligibility categories, or how they’re treated behaviorally within the school. The present study will also collect qualitative data to ask questions regarding special education teachers’ perceptions of their own practice, and what factors they consider when making special education referrals.

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