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ERIC Number: ED513272
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2009
Pages: 133
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: N/A
ISBN: ISBN-978-1-1092-9683-9
The Influence of Teacher Attitudes towards Policy and Practice on Middle School Student Discipline
Hudson, Stephen C.
ProQuest LLC, Ed.D. Dissertation, Dowling College
Frequently, parents, educators, and even government leaders express concern over the continuing violence, as well as the breakdown of discipline within our schools (Boulter, 2004). The purpose of this study was to examine if teacher attitudes influence policy and practice in establishing and enforcing middle school student discipline, and if these attitudes affect implementation of a school's code of conduct, consistency of implementing the code of conduct, the effectiveness of discipline programs, disproportionate suspensions, and safety in two middle schools. During September and October of 2008 teachers from two school districts located in Westchester County, New York completed a survey measuring their attitudes on five variables: school's code of conduct, consistency of implementing the code of conduct, the effectiveness of discipline programs, disproportionate suspensions, and school safety. One school was experiencing a high number of disciplinary infractions and the other was experiencing few disciplinary infractions. Results indicated that teachers in both high and low suspension schools believe that minority students are suspended more frequently, teacher bias contributes to disproportionate suspensions and that there is a lack of cultural understanding toward minority students regarding synchronization between teachers and minority students. The range of responses in the high suspension school and low suspension school were similar. The results indicate that schools reporting fewer disciplinary infractions also have problems with disproportionate suspensions. In comparing minority and non-minority teacher attitudes across schools results showed significance on only one variable, disproportionate suspensions. Results further indicated that non-minority teachers viewed disproportionate suspensions as being a problem more so than minority teachers. When examining the items within the disproportionate suspension variable, results indicated that non-minority teachers saw problems in seven of the eight items: minority students are suspended more frequently than other students for the same offence; discipline is enforced differently for students of color; lack of understanding of cultural differences contributes to disproportionate suspensions; administrators hold stereotypes of minorities that affect the implementation of discipline policies resulting in disproportionate suspensions; and there is racism in my school that contributes to disproportionate suspensions. These results indicate that teacher attitudes in both the high and low suspension schools showed that there continue to be disproportionate suspensions and inconsistent implementation of discipline policies. These results support the need for teacher training and staff development. [The dissertation citations contained here are published with the permission of ProQuest LLC. Further reproduction is prohibited without permission. Copies of dissertations may be obtained by Telephone (800) 1-800-521-0600. Web page:]
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Publication Type: Dissertations/Theses - Doctoral Dissertations
Education Level: Middle Schools
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: New York