Date of Award

Summer 2023

Document Type

Open Access Dissertation


Educational Studies

First Advisor

James Kirylo


The purpose of this study was to examine semester-long referral data from a ninth-grade cohort in a public school in a southeastern state. The research question for this study was the following: What will the examination of semester-long referral data from the entire ninth-grade cohort of a public school in a southeastern state reveal? The problem that prompted this study centered around the ninth grade having the highest number of office disciplinary referrals (ODRs) in the Henderson County school district (pseudonym). Students who routinely receive ODRs run the danger of failing their classes and are more likely to have been disciplined with exclusionary measures like detention and suspension. Teacher training programs have not stressed the need to manage students who exhibit challenging conduct, and teachers have expressed a need for more direction. The excessive use of punitive punishment techniques that exclude students has raised concerns across the country, because it leads to negative student outcomes like dropping out of school and juvenile detention (Freisthler & Kepple, 2019). It is important to pay attention to student tendencies that emerge throughout the first year of high school, particularly for those who receive frequent referrals. The study's conclusions stressed how critical it is to comprehend the researcher's positionality, the effects of unconscious and explicit bias on disciplinary procedures, and the exclusion of certain cultures. An action plan for resolving disciplinary practices that negatively affect minority students is also provided as part of the study's conclusion, along with suggestions for future research.


© 2023, Shalanda L. Shuler