Source: (2004) M.A. thesis, Department of Education, Concordia University, Montreal, Quebec, Canada.

This study explored the dimensions and parameters of three methods of discipline used at a public middle school located in western Canada: out-of-school suspensions, in-school suspensions, and the restorative justice program. Eighteen students, six in each method of discipline, were interviewed about their perceptions and opinions in order to acquire a well-developed understanding of each method of discipline and its effects on middle school students. A variety of participants were included both in the study and within each smaller group. This provided depth when describing the effects of each method of discipline, as students interacted with the method of discipline and the context which resulted in unique short-term effects. After looking at the range of effects of different methods of discipline on middle school students, one style of discipline emerged as being more effective with more types of students and in more kinds of situations. The three main findings of this study were: (1) Based on the effects of the disciplinary methods, restorative justice was consistently viewed by students as a positive experience from which they could learn. Restorative justice also appeared to have the most success in reducing misbehaviour while limiting the unintended academic and social strain. (2) Offering students a choice and allowing them to participate in their discipline procedure seemed to be the key that allowed students to view their consequence as a positive and education experience. (3) Having several methods to deal with misbehaviour as well as dealing with rule infractions and determining consequences on an individual basis had some success in changing student behaviour and limiting the unintended negative repercussions. Author’s abstract.