Publication Date


Document Type

Masters Thesis


School for Social Work


This exploratory qualitative study was undertaken to identify teachers' perceptions of the formal and informal administrative policies that are used to identify children as having behavioral problems. Additionally, it sought to identify their thoughts regarding the administrative policies on children who have been identified as having behavioral problems. Middle school teachers in the public school system who have at least three years teaching experience were recruited from Philadelphia and New York City Public School Districts. Twelve teachers participated in the study. Participation included answering a demographic questionnaire as well as sitting for a taped interview in which questions were asked pertaining to administrative policy, school setting, classroom placement, students with disruptive behavior, and what happens to kids once they are labeled. The findings of the research showed that both effective and ineffective formal and informal administrative policies are used when identifying and managing students with behavioral problems. Of further significance to this study was the participants' belief that labeling children as being disruptive affects them developmentally. Suggestions for further research were given that may aid in educators' understanding of mental health issues, as well as teachers being included in the process of policy making.


iii, 96 p. Thesis (M.S.W)--Smith College School for Social Work, Northampton, Mass., 2007. Includes bibliographical references (leaves 83-86).