Date of Award

Spring 5-2022

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Counseling & Human Services



Committee Director

Emily Goodman-Scott

Committee Member

Natalie Edirmanasinghe

Committee Member

Gülşah Kemer

Committee Member

Jennifer Betters-Bubon

Committee Member

Jori Beck


Decades after the landmark United States Supreme Court decision of Brown v. The Board of Education of Topeka in 1954, the push continues to make schools a safe and welcoming environment for Black and Brown students. Black students in particular are continuing to be oppressed and marginalized in PK-12 educational settings. Accounting for approximately 15% of public PK-12 students, Black students comprise 13.7% of all students who receive out-of-school suspensions in 2017, are 16% of the special education student population, and are more likely to attend a school with less resources (National Center for Educational Statistics [NCES], 2021; Ramsey, n.d.). In addition, Black students are less likely than their white peers to graduate high school - 79% compared to 89% (NCES, 2021).

School counselors, because of their close proximity to students and their role within schools, are in one of the best positions to be systemic change agents and combat institutional racism and inherently biased policies that prevent the academic success, and social-emotional well-being of students of color (Holcomb-McCoy, 2022). Limited literature exists, however, of school counselors discussing antiracist social justice practices they implement in PreK-12 schools. The purpose of this study was to explore how school counselors can advocate and promote equitable change in K-12 schools. This study utilized phenomenological methodology and semi-structured interviews with school counselors (N=10) to form descriptive themes of their lived experiences carrying out antiracist social justice practices.


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