Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education (EdD)


School of Education

First Advisor

Dr. Terry Huffman


This study originated with questions about students who display problematic behavior in school and their unique school experience. Generally, student voices regarding their perspective about their own school experiences are absent in the scholarly literature. This lack of attention led to this investigation. The purpose of this study was to explore the perceptions held by a small sample of middle school children who evidence a pattern of disciplinary problems as determined by school referral data. The target students were solicited from two middle schools in the same district that met the criteria for problematic behavior and were willing to participate. A qualitative approach was determined to be the best process to produce appropriate data and personal interviews were conducted with a sample of middle school students. Four Thematic Codes were identified, indicating significant insight into these students’ perspectives about academic performance, parental involvement in school, teacher relationships and respectful classroom and school settings. Suggestions for further research and recommendations to school leaders as a result of these findings are presented and hold potential for significant impact in middle school settings.

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