Campus Location

Dallas Campus (Online)

Date of Award




Document Type



Organizational Leadership

Degree Name

Doctor of Education

Committee Chair or Primary Advisor

Jennifer Butcher

Second Committee Member or Secondary Advisor

Sandra Harris

Third Committee Member or Committee Reader

Scott Strawn



The increase in the United States prison population over the past several years has precipitated a record number of children in the public school system with incarcerated parents. Consequences of this trend have recently been given significant attention by researchers due to the myriad of difficulties noted to be associated with parental incarceration. The purpose of this qualitative case study was to explore the perceptions, experiences, and insights of educators in a small rural district in Texas as they serve students experiencing parental incarceration. Presentation of an educator in context schema was provided by the application of Bronfenbrenner’s ecological systems theory. This environmental systems theory allowed the researcher to explore the perceptions educators have of the environment surrounding students experiencing parental incarceration, the resources or lack of resources within this environment, and the barriers perceived by these educators to exist in their pursuit to educate this specific population of students. Following a case study protocol, semi structured interviews were performed with 10 educator participants. The findings revealed that educators perceived the immediate school environment as supportive and understanding, the community environment as lacking in resources, the need for education and professional development regarding parental incarceration as desirable, and the cultural blueprint present within the district as accepting of incarceration due to its commonality there, yet, stigmatized due to the popularity of negative connotations associated with it.

Keywords: parental incarceration, teacher perceptions, ecological systems theory, environmental surrounding

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License.



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