Date on Master's Thesis/Doctoral Dissertation


Document Type

Doctoral Dissertation

Degree Name

Ph. D.

Department (Legacy)

Department of Leadership, Foundations, and Human Resource Education

Committee Chair

Petrosko, Joseph M., 1947-

Author's Keywords

Alternative schools; Discipline; Juvenile detention


Problem children--Education--United States; Alternative schools--United States; School discipline--United States; Juvenile detention--United States; School children--United States--Discipline


Alternative school settings for students who are identified as "disruptive or dangerous" are playing an increasingly prominent role in the world of public education, yet many gaps in the research literature are abound. This dissertation study is an effort to contribute to an understanding of the students placed in these alternative schools, identify longitudinal predictors of placement, and assess the risk of subsequent involvement of the juvenile justice system. The study sample consisted of an entire cohort of third grade children in a large metropolitan school district. Through the use of the methodological technique of discrete-time hazard analysis, time-constant and time-varying predictors of placement between 3 rd and 12th grade were examined. The predictor variables used in the study included student demographic, academic and non-academic characteristics that were extracted through the districts large data warehouse. Also under examination in this study was whether, and if so when, students who experienced alternative school placement subsequently experienced a juvenile detention before 12th grade. The results of this study indicated that cumulatively, 9% of the total cohort experienced placement in a disciplinary school by the end of 12th grade. The hazard of placement was greatest in 7th grade. African-American males were disproportionately represented among students placed. The discrete-time hazard models revealed that variables minority, male, free/reduced lunch status, school mobility, Emotional- Behavioral disability, absenteeism, and grade retention were significant predictors of placement through time. Out of school suspension remained the strongest predictor even when controlling for other significant predictors. Over a third of the student placed in alternative school experienced a subsequent juvenile detention. Of those placed in alternative school during elementary, half experienced juvenile detention before the end of 12th grade. Logistic regression results indicated that race and gender were significant predictors of subsequent juvenile detention. Implications for policy, practice and future research are presented in the final chapter.