Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

Deconstructing Exclusionary Discipline: A Paradigm Shift to Restorative Leadership Practices
by Golson, James O'Neil, Jr., Ed.D., Delaware State University, 2018, 178; 10811780
Abstract (Summary)

Zero tolerance policies in K-12 public schools are employed to address a wide range of misbehaviors that vary broadly and impact the educational setting in many negative ways. Administrators and teachers have shown an increased dependence on the use of outside law enforcement, suspensions and expulsions as interventions for disciplinary issues in the classroom. Since the early 1990s, the national discourse on school discipline has been dominated by the philosophy of zero tolerance, originally developed as an approach to the war on drugs and judicial enforcement (Skiba & Rausch, 2006). Zero tolerance mandates the application of predetermined consequences, severe and punitive in nature, applied regardless of the gravity of behavior, mitigating circumstances or situational context. Such policies are widespread in schools across North America. The removal of students from the classroom setting for both major and minor disciplinary infractions creates significant emotional and academic risks to these students.

The purpose of this comparative case study analysis was to compare and contrast three related studies to examine the impact of restorative discipline practices as an alternative to punitive discipline approaches for administrators, staff and students who have participated in restorative practices. The research examines three K-12 public school settings in North America showcasing the implementation of restorative practices to determine if restorative measures are a viable alternative to punitive discipline.

The primary research question asked what did these studies show was the effectiveness of restorative practices as an approach to discipline? Also, what aspects of the school climate changed as a result of the adoption of the restorative practices model? Finally, how did leadership implement the restorative practices and create the necessary conditions for ownership of the new restorative practices plan?

The research reveals that restorative practices encourage relationship building as well as a cohesive sense of community. The studies showed that that the school communities utilized restorative practices as an additional disciplinary approach and a way to address harm done to individuals and the community as well as a way to reintegrate and reconnect individuals into the school community. Data also confirmed that restorative practices are an effective method of disseminating positive behavioral learning and assisting each individual’s recognition of their role in a situation and the responsibility of an individual’s actions. The studies further validated that the district and school leadership performed a pivotal function as restorative change was initiated and sustained.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Phillips, Richard, Carlson, Patricia
Commitee: Boone, Michael, Rathee, Nirmalgit
School: Delaware State University
Department: Educational Leadership
School Location: United States -- Delaware
Source: DAI-A 79/10(E), Dissertation Abstracts International
Subjects: Educational leadership, Education, Alternative Dispute Resolution
Keywords: Conflict resolution, Education, Leadership, Restorative discipline, Restorative justice, Restorative practices
Publication Number: 10811780
ISBN: 9780438004504
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