Graduation Term


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education (EdD)


Department of Educational Administration and Foundations: Educational Administration

Committee Chair

Dianne Renn


Racial disparities are consistently present in the office discipline referral data for schools. Beginning in primary grades, African-American students are frequently punished more severely and more often than their peers who display similar behavior. Nationally, during the 2017-1018 school year, over two million K-12 public school students were suspended out of school one or more times and of these students, nearly one million were African-American students. These students were suspended at a rate that was four times more than their White peers; these suspension rates are even higher at the middle school and high school levels. This study provides an analysis of the discipline practices of a group of middle school teachers. The goal of the research included identifying factors that influence teachers' exclusionary discipline practices as well as the use of restorative practices as a way to effectively address the racial disparities in a teacher’s exclusionary discipline practices. Findings from office discipline referral data, teacher interviews and focus group meetings, and teacher responses to reflective restorative practice questions indicated that teachers do not consistently follow classroom management practices that parallel their overall discipline philosophies. The results also show that colorblindness and teachers’ feelings influence daily discipline practices.


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