Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctorate of Education, Ed.D.


College of Education



First Advisor

Mark Jimenez, Ed.D.

Second Advisor

Wanda Fernandopulle, Ed.D.

Third Advisor

Matthew Basham, Ph.D.


Restorative practices are being used throughout the world as a response to problem behaviors in schools in an effort to stop the use of ineffective and disproportionately-applied exclusionary discipline methods. Research has been primarily quantitative in nature; thus, the purpose of this qualitative study was to explore the lived experiences of six middle school staff members during the first two years of school-based restorative practices implementation. The restorative justice theoretical framework was used to ground this phenomenological study. This framework encompasses the origins of restorative justice, affect theory, and reintegrative shame theory (Braithwaite, 1989a; Tomkins, 2008; Tomkins & Karon, 1962; Tomkins & McCarter, 1964). Husserl’s transcendental phenomenological approach was used to create information-rich descriptions that capture the essence of study participants lived experiences. Using Husserl’s approach to phenomenological research, Castillo-Montoya’s (2016) Moustakas-based (1994) Interview Refinement Protocol was employed to develop the questions for the two-tiered interview format used in this study. An adapted version of Yüksel and Yildirim’s (2015) step-by-step data analysis framework was used to develop the essence of the collected data surrounding the participants’ lived experiences of school-based restorative practices implementation. The five core themes that emerged from study participants’ lived experiences were the role of the “why,” the impact on school culture and climate, daily applications of restorative approaches, cultivating a sense of belonging and emotional safety, and critical factors for restorative practices implementation.

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