First Advisor

Pat Burk

Term of Graduation

Spring 2022

Date of Publication


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education (Ed.D.) in Educational Leadership: Administration


Educational Leadership and Policy





Physical Description

1 online resource (vi, 164 pages)


One of the persistent challenges in United States elementary schools is the ongoing use of exclusionary discipline practices. In Oregon, despite the application of a number of legal and policy shifts intended to reduce the use of suspension and expulsion in K-5 and K-8 schools, particularly for students of color, there continues to be an increase year-to-year of the number of students being excluded, the percentage of students excluded, and an increasingly disproportionate use of exclusion for students of color. Although the research shows that removing students from the learning environment does not improve student behavior nor improve overall school discipline and has a negative impact on academic achievement, the practice persists. This study sought to better understand the factors leading to the decisions of administrators during the disciplinary process that can lead to exclusionary discipline outcomes. Using a sequential, two-step qualitative approach, principals shared their perspectives in focus groups and individual interviews revealing the various pressures, from both within the school community and from outside, that they face when making discipline decisions. The results showed how multifaceted school discipline is and that a change in any one aspect of the discipline process is unlikely to produce a change in practices.


© 2022 William Jeremy Cohen

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