Source: (2013) Dissertation. Degree Doctor of Philosophy. Margaret Warner Graduate School of Education and Human Development University of Rochester. Rochester, New York

This is a normative ethical analysis of school discipline policies. The overarching objective of this work is to inform school practices that directly benefit students. Chapter one examines the current state and practices of student discipline within schools. It focuses upon the pervasive use of suspensions to deal with non-violent student offenses and the adverse consequences that result from the applications of suspensions. Chapter two analyses three theoretical frameworks as they inform the developmental of a threshold for the ethical application of punishment. Developmental liberalism informs the understanding of the role that schools have in exhausting educative measures before the use of force, Self-Determination theory provides the foundation for psychologically nurturing school environments as necessary for the curtailing of adverse student behaviors, and School Community theory acknowledges the essential aspects of curriculum in engaging students. Chapter three sets forth a model for making ethical decisions within schools, and provides an analysis of principles and educational aims that directly inform this process. Chapter four explores the “crime and punishment” phenomenon within school discipline and provides the theoretical rationale that is offered to support such arguments. The chapter concludes with a discussion of when, if ever, it is appropriate to suspend students from school. Chapter five examines existing approaches to student discipline that align with the requirements of the threshold for ethical application of discipline and a well-informed ethical decision making process. (author's abstract)