Date Awarded


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education (Ed.D.)




This research examined the knowledge level and perceptions of 300 randomly selected school leaders in the Commonwealth of Virginia concerning the discipline provisions of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act of 1997 (IDEA 97). The overarching questions answered in the study were (1) to what extent are school leaders aware of the existing discipline provisions of IDEA 97 which have been in place since 2001; and (2) how do school leaders view the impact of those provisions on their ability to maintain a safe learning environment for all?;Findings resulted in one significant difference (p<.05) among school leaders in the sub-domain of Knowledge. Elementary leaders reported a significantly lower level of knowledge regarding the discipline provisions of IDEA 97 than did their middle school peers. School leaders across knowledge domains and school levels reported that the discipline provisions of IDEA 97 did not negatively impact their ability to maintain safe schools. Moreover, professional development was identified by school leaders in the study as a high need to manage the discipline provisions of IDEA 97 across all school levels.



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