Out of Sight, Out of Mind: A Case Study of an Alternative School for Students with Emotional Disturbance (ED)

Matthew Hoge, Eliane Rubinstein-Avila
2014 Qualitative Research in Education  
When the 'least restrictive' educational environment is deemed unsuccessful for students labeled as having emotional disabilities (ED), they are often placed in either self-contained classrooms (when available) or alternative schools. Despite these schools' growing numbers, little is known about them and their students, who are segregated from the mainstream student population. This qualitative case study focuses on the perspectives of staff (i.e., the principal, school psychologist, teachers,
more » ... nd aids) in one such alternative school for students with ED. Based on interviews, findings revealed staff's frustration with the: (1) school's reputation within, and isolation from, the larger school district; (2) lack of follow up and communication with 'sending schools'; (3) lack of professional development; and (4) lack of oversight from school district administration. The paper also conveys staff's vision for addressing some of the challenges. These findings may contribute to the largely unsuccessful fulfillment of the school's original intention—to return its students to their original schools (i.e., the 'least restrictive' educational environment). The authors argue that in-depth inquiry into such schools is a social justice issue.
doi:10.4771/qre.2014.49 doaj:d1902102b6b64218a4c2e00428107fea fatcat:uidsxupftnh6nakmkea2imabzu