Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)




College of Education

First Advisor

Suzanne Horn

Second Advisor

Deborah Perkins

Third Advisor

Catherine Scott


The purpose of this mixed-methods study was to investigate teacher and school leader perspectives on how relationships with Black or African American girls' impacted recidivism in an alternative school setting. The following research questions were used to guide this study to examine the viewpoint of alternative school teachers and school leaders regarding factors that impact teacher and student relationships and preventing recidivism among African American girls: What factors do alternative school teachers and leaders feel contribute to recidivism among Black or African American girls? What are alternative school teachers’ and school leaders’ perspectives on how relationships impact recidivism among Black or African American girls? In this study, teachers and school leaders provide their perspectives on factors that impact recidivism among Black or African American girls in alternative school settings as well as how relationships play a role in reducing recidivism. Systemic Stigma, School Environment, Home Environment, and Lack of Base School support emerged as themes to support the teacher and school leader perceptions on what they felt impacted relationships and recidivism among Black or African American girls in alternative school settings. Eliminating the stigmas that are within school settings on Black or African American girls and ensuring that appropriate supports such as counseling, mentorship, and a “clean slate” are provided within the school environment all were found to have an impact on recidivism. Additionally, ensuring that strong relationships are formed between the teacher and the Black or African American girls despite the trauma brought into the school environment from their home lives and aiding in ensuring that the base school provides the appropriate transitional support needed were found to impact relationships and recidivism among the participants within this study. These perspectives will provide insight into perceptions and perspectives from the alternative school teacher and school leader lens. The insights gained from this study will enable educators to refine the practices within alternative and base school settings to ensure that the needs of Black or African American girls are being met in order to reduce recidivism. Considerations should be made in terms of best practices and supports for Black or African American girls, no matter which school setting they are enrolled in: alternative school or a traditional base school setting. The implementation of an effective transitional program at the base school to support Black or African American girls upon their return from the alternative school is also recommended. Lastly, ensuring that professional development is provided for all stakeholders within the alternative school setting to ensure they understand the importance of transforming their practices in order to meet the needs of Black or African American girls instead of expecting the girls to transform based on the practices currently used.