Defense Date


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science



First Advisor

Dr. Liz Coston


Due to increasing media focus, there has been growing concern that U.S. students and the school environment are increasingly violent, leading the public to believe that school discipline should become more strict and punitive (Giroux 2003; Schept, Wall, & Brisman 2014). However, scholars argue that there is little evidence that current practices of school discipline have made the school environment safer, but instead have criminalized the school and are disproportionately targeting students of color and disabled students (Beger 2002; Civil Rights Project 2000; Gregory, Skiba, & Noguera 2010; Hirschfield 2008; McNeal & Dunbar 2010; U.S. Government Office of Accountability 2018). The expansion of zero-tolerance policies and the surveillance culture in schools have played a large role in the creation of the school-to-prison pipeline, in which students are increasingly being suspended and expelled from school and coming in contact with the juvenile justice system. This research explores the relation that zero tolerance policies function as the neoliberal social control mechanism to control students who are seen to have “no market value and [are] identified as flawed consumers because of their associations with crime and poverty, redundancy and expendability” (Sellers & Arrigo 2018, p. 66). Zero-tolerance policies function as the latest manifestation of capitalist reconstitution of educational institutions, through curricula, student conduct codes, disciplinary procedures, and the hidden curriculum, constructed of the language of capitalism, disproportionately targeting students of color (Bowles & Gintis 2011). A series of OLS regression analyses were conducted to analyze how community partners and school resource officer involvement impact the rate of suspension, expulsion, and combined school disciplinary measures using the School Survey on Crime and Safety Survey 2005-06 data. It was found that community partners and school resource officers have a positive and negative relationship with disciplinary rates. This research further substantiates that racial and ethnic minority students receive disproportionate rates of discipline.


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