Graduation Year


Document Type

Ed. Specalist



Degree Granting Department

Psychological and Social Foundations

Major Professor

Kelly Powell-Smith, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Linda Raffaele Mendez, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Robert Dedrick, Ph.D.


suspension, race, adolescents, behavior management, socioeconomic status


The present study examined whether external (out-of-school) suspensions are applied equitably to students of different ethnic backgrounds who commit violent and nonviolent offenses. The hypotheses presented in this study were addressed through secondary analysis of disciplinary records from a large metropolitan school district in Florida.

The results indicate that, for the group of 1,667 tenth grade students included in this analysis, racial equity was related to the type of offense, as well as to the student's socioeconomic status. Racial differences were found when SES was not considered, with African American students more likely to be suspended from school for status offenses and violent offenses. The same degree of racial disproportionality was not found among low SES students. However, middle and higher SES students appeared to account for much of the racial disproportionality seen in the sample, with African American students in this group more likely to be suspended for both violent and status offenses.