Date of Award

Winter 12-5-2017

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctorate of Education, Ed.D.


College of Education



First Advisor

Angela Owusu-Ansah, Ph.D.

Second Advisor

Cathryn Lambeth, Ed.D.

Third Advisor

Jerry McGuire, Ph.D.


Despite decades of effort to change disciplinary practices in American schools, racial disparities continue and are most prevalent for Black students, according to national Office Disciplinary Referral data. While Culturally Responsive-Positive Behavior Interventions and Supports (CR-PBIS) is the result of years of adjustments to weave cultural responsiveness into Positive Behavior Interventions and Supports (PBIS) systems and decrease racial disciplinary disparities, the results at K-12 schools have been inconsistent. Cultural Race Theory, which recognizes racism is reflected in all societal systems and is the foundation for this study, may provide a clue as to why racial disciplinary disparities continue. This study took place in a school that had implemented CR-PBIS with fidelity for over five years and examined teacher perceptions about the implementation and impact of CR-PBIS through focus groups while also collecting data on the level of culturally responsive practices occurring in classrooms. The results indicate racism in societal systems funnel down into school systems and manifests as explicit and implicit bias on the part of teachers. Research results additionally suggest that students of color are experiencing racial microaggressions on multiple levels through the words and actions of staff, the physical classroom environment, and curriculum and supplemental materials.

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