Date of Award


Document Type

Open Access Dissertation


Educational Studies

First Advisor

Doyle Stevick


The purpose of this study was to examine the correlates of discipline referrals in a diverse, high-poverty rural school district. The framework is based upon the Diamond (2004) study which, like this research, was built on the notion that socioeconomic inequality is a major factor for disproportionality in student discipline. This study identified the assets and deficits of the sample population and analyzed them in relationship to the referrals accrued. This study was conducted in a small, rural, southern school district. Of the population, approximately 78% are on free and reduced lunch and is made up of Caucasian students, 53%, and African-American students, 44%. Data for this research study were derived from student discipline reports, records, and test scores. The data gathered from student records included age, grade, sex, ethnicity, free and reduced status, and single-parent home. Present reading levels reflected the most recent test data. The sample population included 199 students. Descriptive statistics were used to determine if certain student characteristics were common among student disciplinary infractions. Calculations showed a correlation with discipline referrals for four student characteristics: students on free and reduced lunch, male students, African-American students, and students reading below grade level, reading levels being the strongest. Findings in this study found that socioeconomic status and ethnicity are major factors in student discipline. Because 94% of the African-Americans in the study were also on free and reduced lunch the analysis could not determine which variable correlated more strongly to discipline referrals.