2018 IDEA Grant Recipient - Amanda Williford

Understanding Exclusionary Discipline Practices Outside of Suspension and Expulsion for Young Students

Abstract: Although the majority of research has examined the racial discipline gap in middle and high schools, these disparities are present as early as preschool and exist within the early elementary grades. Before students are suspended and expelled, students are subjected to increasingly harsh and exclusionary discipline practices that are less extreme than suspensions and expulsions but never the less limit students’ capacities to fully engage in the learning opportunities at school. In this proposal, we will gather data to understand the extent to which elementary students are subjected to an array of negative, harsh, and exclusionary discipline practices both within and outside of the classroom. This proposed project will collect pilot data towards developing a teacher-report measure of exclusionary discipline practices other than formal suspensions and expulsions. The sample for this project will include teachers instructing in preschool and through third grade classrooms. We will conduct 2-3 focus groups with local teachers and will then pilot a large set of items with 450 to 600 teachers. The data from this project will increase our understanding of the forms of exclusionary discipline practices in early elementary school classrooms that lead to suspensions and expulsions.