School counselors' perceptions and attitudes about the disproportionality of African American students in special education
Shell, Elbert Mackenzie
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Although researchers have explored the overrepresentation of African American students in various special education categories, few studies have explored school counselors’ beliefs or attitudes about the phenomenon. To gain an understanding of the potentially diverse perceptions and viewpoints of school counselors and the essences of their experiences, a qualitative approach allowed for exploration and identification of attitudes about overrepresentation itself and factors that contribute to overrepresentation of African American students in special education. The study included eight practicing school counselors with various levels of experience who were employed in diverse settings in the state of Georgia. The purpose of this exploratory study was to increase our understanding of school counselors’ subjective attitudes and beliefs about disproportionality and factors that contribute to overrepresentation of African American students who are served in special education. Implications for how school counselors may positively impact the issue of disproportionality were explored along with the implications for education and training of school counselors to mitigate misclassification of African American students in special education.