Faculty Research at Morehead State University


An Analysis of Disciplinary Suspensions.

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Student punishment has received increased scrutiny; one of the concerns is that not all students are punished equally. This paper presents findings of a study that investigated whether race, gender, or existence of student disability affected punishment practices in an eastern Kentucky school district. Since corporal punishment had been banned in the district, there was interest in the incidence and resolution of behavioral problems. Analysis of the records of 465 students who were suspended during the 1994-95 school year indicated that no suspensions were tabulated for minority students (one percent of student population) . Male adolescents developed more conduct problems than did females and younger students. Almost 20 percent of the suspensions were given to students categorized as disabled; disabled students composed 14 percent of the student body. Although the overall number of male suspensions increased by school level, the proportion of suspended males with disabilities tended to decrease as students moved from elementary school to the secondary level. It is recommended that the district explore conflict-resolution strategies that teach appropriate behavior.