Date on Master's Thesis/Doctoral Dissertation


Document Type

Doctoral Dissertation

Degree Name

Ed. D.


Educational Leadership, Evaluation and Organizational Development

Degree Program

Educational Leadership and Organizational Development, EDD

Committee Chair

Brydon-Miller, Mary

Committee Co-Chair (if applicable)

Haselton, Blake

Committee Member

Haselton, Blake

Committee Member

Powers, Debbie

Committee Member

Buecker, Harrie

Author's Keywords

out of school suspension; zero tolerance; exclusionary discipline; restorative justice; academic motivation


Historically, the response to rule violations and misbehavior in schools was to punish students by using methods such as exclusionary discipline. Exclusionary discipline may lead to poor academic outcomes for the student, increased likelihood of dropping out of school, and an introduction to the criminal justice system (Cueller and Markowitz, 2015). Being suspended from school also increases the chances a student will feel disconnected, intensify conflict with adults, and impact a youth’s choice to engage in criminal activities (Skiba et al., 2006). Researchers have concluded that suspension is also a predictor of future suspensions, not a deterrent (Rafaele & Mendez, 2003). Use of suspension is associated with lower academic achievement, an increased risk of deviant behavior and impacts on time graduation (Losen & Skiba, 2015). When students experience out of school suspension and then return to school, many feel they cannot catch back up to their peers. This may be the final straw as a student struggles to decide whether they should drop out of school (Bloomberg, 2004). This qualitative study used a phenomenological inquiry design. Individual semi-structured interviews were conducted with students who had been suspended for at least six days during the school year to identify perceptions about out of school suspension and vii the impact on academic motivation. Specifically this study examined whether this perception changes based on the severity of the offense. Finally, this research helped determine whether there is a connection between the culture of the school community and out of school suspension. These findings may help with the development of future disciplinary policies for high schools. Keywords: Out of school suspension, exclusionary discipline, academic motivation, school discipline policy

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