Examining School Discipline Under Restorative Justice: A sociological analysis of school disciplinary processes, disparities, and interventions.
Schools often adopt restorative justice programs in efforts to mitigate racial inequality in school discipline and to address growing concerns around the school-to-prison pipeline. While both the school-to-prison pipeline and restorative justice (RJ) programs have garnered attention, little is known about both the long-term impacts of experiencing school discipline and the extent to which interventions like RJ can mitigate these processes. Thus, this project draws on theoretical understandings of racial stratification and schools as organizations to investigate the long-term impacts of school discipline and examine restorative justice implementation in two school district contexts in the U.S. Drawing on unique data sources and utilizing inference-based statistical approaches, I investigate 1) how experiencing school discipline is associated with transition to adulthood outcomes 2) the extent to which RJ practices affect school discipline trends over time, and 3) how RJ effects may vary on the logic of adoption and implementation strategies. Analyses from my first empirical chapter link school discipline with young adult outcomes, finding that this linkage tends to be stronger for Black students. Subsequent chapters rely on inference-based statistical approaches to investigate how restorative interventions impacted school disciplinary disparities in two school districts and analyzes how the logic of both interventions led to a widening of racial disproportionality in one district and a narrowing disproportionality in the other. Taken together, this work provides a nuanced view of the structural conditions that surround school disciplinary disparities and the interventions that are often adopted to ameliorate them.