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Student perceptions of discretion in discipline: Seeking resolution and restoration in a punitive culture.

Webb, Owen D.
June 4, 2015

Source: (2009) Dissertation. Masters in Education. Brock University.

This study examined high school students perceptions of discretion utilized by educators in high school disciplinary proceedings. Using a sample of 6 high school students who had experienced differing levels of formal discipline, the study investigated the discretionary factors that influence a educator’s decision making. The study was a generic qualitative study where the primary source of data collection was open-ended interviews to ensure the integrity of the research as a study of student voices and perceptions. Journaling was also employing aspects of a grounded theory approach. The findings were coded to reveal 5 areas high school students identified in relation to discipline and discretion: punitive discretion, and the student-educator relationship. The final discussion highlights the need for a community vision for high school discipline in order to channel discretion and to uphold students’ best interests. Restorative justice is proposed as a feasible vision for high school discipline, whereby participants’ responses are measured against a restorative paradigm.


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