Date of Paper


Type of Paper

Clinical research paper

Degree Name

Master of Social Work (M.S.W.)


Social Work

First Advisor

Melissa Lundquist


Social Work


The intent of this qualitative study was to explore participants’ stories and experiences of safety when working in a Federal Setting 4 Special Education environment with students who have disabilities and aggressive behaviors. This study utilized a qualitative, phenomenological research approach to better understand experiences participants have been through firsthand or witnessed in regards to their safety. The participants consisted of 10 professionals who all currently work in a Federal Setting 4 environment in two different Intermediate School Districts in the state of Minnesota. The participants included teachers, social workers, mental health professionals, and a psychologist. The participants were asked 10 open-ended questions. All of the interviews were audio recorded and then transcribed. Once the interviews were transcribed the researcher discovered themes that were consistent across the interviews. Five dominant themes and one sub-theme arose from the data and included: proactive behavior plans, injuries and safety concerns for students and staff, prohibition of prone restraint and potential prohibition of seclusion, law enforcement within school environments, reasonable force, and staff burnout and secondary trauma. Implications for the field of social work and policy change were discussed, as well.

Included in

Social Work Commons