Date of Award


Document Type

Non Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Arts in Education




Educational Leadership

Capstone Instructor

Brian Boothe Ed.D.

Second Reader

Theresa Starkman


Discipline, Exclusionary Discipline, Disproportionality, Racial Disproportionality, School-to-Prison-Pipeline


Racial disproportionality in discipline has been present, documented and researched for several decades. A growing body of evidence indicates that students of color, most specifically African American males, receive the highest rate and most severe forms of exclusionary discipline (suspension and expulsion). Certain contributing factors found responsible for the increasing rates in disproportionality, such as implicit bias and the implementation of a zero-tolerance policy, have been linked to the Nation’s deeply rooted history of racism. Therefore causing the academic achievement gap between African American and white students to also continue to widen. Evidence further indicates a correlation between exclusionary discipline and negative outcomes in academics and social emotional growth. Exclusionary discipline practices have also been found to increase the likelihood of students of color being introduced to the criminal justice system, therefore perpetuating the school-to-prison-pipeline. Methods such as culturally responsive teaching, restorative justice and positive behavior interventions and support have been found to slightly alleviate how contributing factors influence disproportionality in discipline. While these methods individually have not been able to provide a promising avenue towards ending disproportionality in school discipline; there is speculation, based on research, that a multi-layered approach of methods may bring about success in achieving equity in school discipline.

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