Award Date


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education (EdD)


Educational Leadership

First Committee Member

Edith Rusch

Second Committee Member

Robert McCord

Third Committee Member

James Crawford

Fourth Committee Member

Jeff Halsell

Fifth Committee Member

Gwen Marchand

Number of Pages



On March 6, 2012, the New York Times released an article in the education section describing a study by the Department of Education Office of Civil Rights. The study showed that the education system continues to create inequities for minority students. In particular, according to the Office of Civil Rights, Black students made up 18% of the sample size, yet 35% were suspended once and 39% were expelled (U.S. Department of Education, 2012). In a review of the literature, the statistics of the discipline inequities that minorities face became a recurring theme. However, very little research explored other factors that may contribute to the inequities of discipline facing minority students.

The problem becomes, to what degree is the discrepancy in discipline rates an important data point about the equality or inequality of our educational system? To what degree do contextual factors explain high and low rates of expulsions in varied socioeconomic settings? Skibba, Micael, Nardo, & Peterson (2000) consider socioeconomic status a possible contributing factor toward high and low rates of suspensions and expulsions. Orfield and Lee (2005) argue that we are still segregated by socioeconomic status which is a cause of the educational inequality.

This dissertation is a mixed methods exploration of the relationship between the expulsions rates of middle school students and other factors that may lead to high and low expulsion rates of middle school students. This study consists of two phases. The first phase is a collection of the expulsion data from a large urban school district to find patterns or clusters of schools that have high and low rates of expulsions. The second phase uses the clusters to explore contextual factors (accountability reports, school improvement plans, newspaper articles, teacher turnover rate, etc.) that may influence the expulsion rates.


Discipline; Expulsions; Middle school students; Minority students; School discipline; Student expulsion; Student suspension



File Format


Degree Grantor

University of Nevada, Las Vegas




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