|Abstract or Summary
- This study is an attempt to discover (1) the types of behavior problems
school people report, (2) whether these reports contain information
which reliably indicates serious psychological disorders, and what might be
expected as a result of proper definition and recognition of these problems.
In addition, the findings of experts in the field of mental hygiene and child
behavior are sampled to discover symptoms of maladjustment which they feel
should be observed and reported from the school situation.
Included in this study is a survey of some court referrals which were
initiated by school attendance department counselors and contained information to be used by juvenile court authorities in handling the cases. In an
effort to discover the types of things which seem to mostly concern school
people and which are most often reported in court cases, a tally is shown of
the actual descriptive terms which teachers used and which were found in the
court referrals. The analyses of these court referrals were used as a means
of discovering whether or not symptomatic behavior reported in the referrals
included that which might have been indicative of serious emotional disturbances
and whether or not causes of disorder were suggested in the behavior
descriptions and other information given.
Significant behavior symptoms which should be observed in the school
situation were sought from two sources: a survey of the literature, and a
review of some typical case histories selected from visiting teacher files.
The case histories examined were ones in which disturbances of long enough
duration were reported so that some understanding could be reached of the
development of early behavior traits which were symptomatic of serious
emotional disturbances. After the descriptive material in the court referral
was sifted in an effort to discover what the teachers considered to be
significant behavior, these findings were compared against those of Sheldon
and Eleanor Glueck who are recognized authorities in the study of the complex,
causal forces in the origin and development of anti-social behavior.
The conclusions dram were favorable to classroom teachers and other
school personnel from whose reports the behavior descriptions were extracted. The Wickman study, to which reference was made in this thesis, found teachers that tended to disregard subtle indications of disorder and were pre-occupied almost entirely with aggressive, bothersome behavior which caused inconvenience to the teachers or violated some of their moral or ethical codes. The following study concludes that in the school referrals examined there was reflected a general concern of today's teachers and other school personnel for students' personal problems. While it is true that many things which were found in the teachers' reports seemed to involve teachers' reactions to inconveniences and difficulties caused by students' behavior, the author concludes that qualified persons examining these reports would receive information valuable in the discovery of the basic causes of behavior disorders.
The central responsibility of the school in the discovery and referral, if necessary, of serious behavior problems is repeatedly indicated by this study of 90 juvenile court referrals, three case histories, and the opinions of experts in the field of human behavior as they relate particularly to school children.