Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education (EdD)


Executive Leadership

First Supervisor

Daniele Lyman-Torres, EdD

Second Supervisor

Loretta Quigley, EdD


The purpose of this study was to explore the intersectionality framework in place in schools and to examine school-based responses to the trauma students may face when they have incarcerated parents. Intersectionality theory emphasizes the interconnected nature of various social identities, such as race, gender, socioeconomic status, and more. Applying intersectionality theory to the context of students with incarcerated parents enhanced our understanding of the challenges they face. This qualitative study used interpretative phenomenological analysis to examine how five urban school administrators handled the effects of trauma in students with incarcerated parents.

The findings from the interviews highlight the critical role school administrators play in fostering a supportive environment for students who have incarcerated parents. Empathetic and understanding school administrations can significantly impact the well-being and academic success of students with incarcerated parents. This underscores the importance of addressing the needs of these students on multiple levels, considering not only their parental incarceration status but also the various intersecting identities and factors that shape their experiences.

Addressing the needs of students with incarcerated parents using an intersectional approach involved recognizing that the students’ challenges were multifaceted and interconnected. Recommendations include school administrators and district-level policies being sensitive to these intersections, ensuring that support mechanisms consider the unique needs of each individual student, schools putting more systemic support in place, and identifying and addressing students’ needs. Recognizing and addressing the challenges faced by students with incarcerated parents can create a more inclusive and compassionate school environment, improving education for all students.

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