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, PhD

Committee Chair

Ingle, William Kyle

Committee Co-Chair (if applicable)

Alagaraja, Meera

Committee Member

Johnson, Detra

Committee Member

Dawson-Edwards, Cherie

Author's Keywords

restorative practices; black girls; alternative school; middle school; perceptions; talking circles


Research suggests that Restorative Justice approaches have shown promise in terms of their impact on school climate, student behavior, and relationships. The purpose of this study is to explore Black female students’ perceptions of Restorative Practice (RP) talking circles at an alternative school. The study examined literature on Zero Tolerance, School Discipline Disparities, African American Female students, Intersectionality, Restorative Justice, and Alternative Schools. A qualitative case study method was used for this study, drawing from two sources: (a) face-to-face interviews and (b) observations of the Black female students who attend the alternative school and participate in the talking circles. Analyses of the transcripts and observations of student experiences in the RP talking circles helped to paint a picture of the many emergent themes and individual stories. From these analyses, seven themes emerged: talking circle procedures and elements, single-gender circles, the circle keeper, self-awareness, helpful circle topics, letting things out, and relationships. The study concludes by providing implications for policy, practice, and future research studies.