Back to RJ Archive

A normative ethical analysis of school discipline practices.

Williams, Matthew C.
June 4, 2015

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)


Support the cause

We've Been Restoring Justice for More Than 40 Years

Your donation helps Prison Fellowship International repair the harm caused by crime by emphasizing accountability, forgiveness, and making amends for prisoners and those affected by their actions. When victims, offenders, and community members meet to decide how to do that, the results are transformational.

Donate Now