Date of Conferral



Doctor of Education (Ed.D.)




Peter Ross


Some general education teachers do not have the training, tools, and supports to work with the diverse needs of students with emotional-behavioral disabilities. The purpose of this case study was to develop a deeper understanding of how general education teachers perceive students with emotional-behavioral disabilities to better understand the issues related to effectively work with these students in the classroom. The conceptual framework for this study was Ajzen's theory of planned behavior. Fifteen general education teachers' definitions of an emotional-behavioral disability, perceptions of students with emotional-behavioral disabilities, training and supports by the school districts, and descriptions of classroom interactions were explored. Data analysis of the interviews included QSR NVivo software followed by a secondary analysis of identifying codes and theme. From the results, participants defined emotional-behavioral disabilities as spectrum conditions, displaying externalized and internalized behaviors, and as students who tend to be disruptive and behaviorally challenging in the general education classroom. Participants identified difficulties in building relationships with students. Participants also identified the need for more professional development and administrative support in the classroom. Interactions with students with emotional-behavioral disabilities were identified as challenging and unpredictable. This study may contribute to positive social change by identifying teachers' perceptions of students with emotional-behavioral disabilities, helping teachers to reflect on their perceptions, and identifying needed supports for teachers working with students. Educators and administrators may use the results to make informed decisions about trainings needed for general education teachers working with students with emotional-behavioral disabilities.