Degree Name

Education Specialist (EdS)

Semester of Degree Completion


Thesis Director

David E. Bartz


The purpose of this study was to examine the perceptions and observations of principals at the senior high school level in Illinois concerning the methods and procedures currently used in the discipline of students identified as learning disabled, socially and emotionally disabled, and educationally mentally handicapped students.

Many different methods of discipline have been introduced and recommended by educational experts in the special education field.

Suspension and expulsion procedures have been used for many years by public school principals in order to achieve disciplinary control of students with and without disabilities. Even in cases where suspension or expulsion was warranted and used appropriately by school principals, educational services for students with special needs must be continued without interruption.

The study took place during the fall of 1996 and included a survey of a random sample of 200 secondary principals of public schools in Illinois. Responses were received from 140 principals. Those surveyed were asked to respond to questions concerning their perceptions of methods and procedures currently used to discipline special education students.

The respondents felt that many special education students knew the consequences for misbehaviors in their buildings. Many principals suggested parent conferences, inschool suspension, Saturday school, detention, suspension, and peer mediation as effective discipline tools for special education students.

Principals recommended a team approach as the best method in dealing with the discipline of special education students. This usually included a teacher, student, parent, and representative from the administration. Involving the special education teacher through the IEP process as to how suspension should be handled (in-school, out-of-school, or Saturday School) was an appropriate practice indicated by respondents. Principals also recommended that disciplinary practices for special education students be established on the IEP.