Document Type

Master's Research

Degree Name

Master of Science in Education


Professional Studies


Jane M. Leatherman

Date of Award



The current study measured the effect of previous jail experiences on academic achievement of a student with an Emotional and Behavioral Disorder. Research shows a positive correlation between EBD and achievement gaps in all academic areas (Brier, 1995; Scruggs & Mastropieri; Wilson, Cone, Bradley, & Reese, 1986). Students with EBD often do not have basic skills (physiological, safety or belonging) to meet the need of their lives, therefore, they have difficulty succeeding in school (Maslow, 1970). If the student is incarcerated, the juvenile facility provides a basic education based on the state standards, however, gaps may exist between skills obtained in the juvenile facility and returning to school. This is a case study of a 14-year-old freshman female who has been incarcerated or court ordered to a placement three separate times. The data for this study was based on three main research questions. Findings show that students with EBD have a limited range of ability with which to make decisions based on their emotional status. Skewed perception and poor decision making increases with a student's emotional pain.

Student's with EBD have maladaptive coping skills. The skills the student's have learned through the years have served them in some way, however are now outdated and counterproductive to the student. Students with EBD often have strong academic abilities, yet their emotional disabilities impairs the use of those skills. The student may be become incarcerated and attend schooling while imprisoned. Many of the state standards will be covered while student attends the prison-provided school. However, the student will not follow the pace of their classes at school and are at-risk of losing skills that the classes cover while the student is incarcerated. The family is dramatically altered by a student with an EBD. Caring for a child with EBD can be overwhelming and many times the parents are blamed. Parents need to maintain connections with outside agencies, as well as other parents of students with EBD. The parents will want to maintain healthy sources of coping for themselves as they work on helping their child learn to cope in healthy ways.