Publication Date

Summer 2019

Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education (EdD)




Amy Leisenring


African American students, Black students, High School Students, Kindezi Inspired Structured Schools, KISS Model, Microaggressions

Subject Areas

Educational leadership; Education policy; African American studies


California continues to tackle blatant racist acts within school systems across the state as recent headlines read, “Deeply offensive blackface video of California high school student sparks backlash” (Yancey-Bragg, Guynn, & Rhor, 2019, n.p.) and “Four teachers and their principal placed on leave after cheerfully posing for photo with noose” (Lunning, 2019, n.p.). Gaining a greater awareness of the non-headlining actions that take place on a day-to-day basis that have an equally powerful adverse effect on the school experiences of black learners was the focus of this study. Microaggressions are “subtle, stunning, often automatic, and non-verbal exchanges which are put downs” classified as microassaults, microinsults, and microinvalidations. For this study, emphasis was on race-based microaggressions. The presence of racial microaggressions impacted student participants’ perceptions of their schooling experiences. Microassaults were the most experienced racial microaggressions generally instigated by peers followed by microinsults, equally exhibited by teachers and peers. Microinvalidations were not as common but when they did occur peers were often the perpetrator.