Date of Submission


Document Type



Criminal Justice


Danielle T. Cooper Ph.D


Comparative Analysis, Exclusionary Discipline, Criminalization of Children, Zero Tolerance Policies


School-to-prison pipeline, School discipline, School children--Discipline, School management and organization, Social isolation


The United States imprisons 440 people age 18 and older for every 100,000 people of the same age (Bronson & Carson, 2019). By addressing a child’s introduction to the justice system and reducing this number, the number of adults in the criminal justice system will in turn reduce (Cooper & Klein, 2018). The school to prison pipeline and zero tolerance policies further the criminalization of children by way of exclusionary discipline. Some previous research found relationships between exclusion and dropping out of school, contact with the justice system, future criminal offending, and commission of more serious crimes. (Pesta, 2018; Wolf and Kupchick, 2016; Harris, 2018; Forsyth et al, 2014). The current study aimed to investigate perceptions of and experiences with exclusionary discipline. The three groups of study were students, teachers and administrators, and school resource officers (SROs). A screener survey identified potential participants, and interviews were conducted based on established selection criteria. The analyses were conducted both within group and across group. There were seven themes identified across all three study groups and they are as follows: change behavior, school safety, reporting exclusionary numbers, educational deficit, education, totality of circumstances, and teachers escalate. The SRO group and student group did not share any themes aside from the seven found across all groups. By understanding these themes, as well as the absence of themes, the use of exclusionary discipline can be adjusted to meet the view of those in the educational environment, who are most affected by exclusion.