Date of Award

Spring 5-2021

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education in School Leadership


Center for Leadership & Learning


College of Education

Committee Chair

Dr. Sarah Gordon

Second Committee Member

Dr. Jackie Paxton

Third Committee Member

Dr. Russel Anthony Alan Jones

Program Director

Dr. John Freeman

Dean of Graduate College

Dr. Richard Schoephoerster


Students with disabilities are often disciplined differently than their peers in school. This qualitative study focused on eight secondary administrators in the Fort Smith Public School district and their perceptions of manifestation determinations and their understanding of the laws of special education. Participants were interviewed face-toface via an online platform, and results were recorded and transcribed verbatim. Glasser’s Choice Theory guided the research and through the study the results indicated administrators gain insights to a SWD motivation for the behavior before assigning an intervention, punishment, or discipline procedure (Achilles et al., 2007; Glasser, 1998; Louis, 2009; Rose, 1988; Zirkel, 2010). The results of this study indicated that secondary administrators within the school district had differential understanding of the laws of special education, would benefit from better training, and the district needed more uniformity on how manifestations are handled.