Defense Date


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy



First Advisor

Ross Collin

Second Advisor

William Muth

Third Advisor

David Naff

Fourth Advisor

Antionette Stroter


Research indicates that justice-involved youth who reenter public and alternative schools following contact with the juvenile justice system struggle to find a place in the school community and complete their educations. Because educational attainment affects recidivism rates, successful school reentry for justice-involved youth presents important research questions for policy and practice. This study examined school reentry through cases studies of adults who had been justice-involved youth and had experienced school reentry following contact with the juvenile justice system. Study participants’ school reentry experiences were examined through a theoretical framework comprised of labeling, social control, and field theories. Findings suggest that institutional and human barriers make school reentry a complex, emotional experience for justice-involved youth. Findings also support the utility of a new theoretical framework – school exclusion theory – to describe the stigmatization, isolation, and alienation that justice-involved youth encounter from schools and school personnel who resist their reentry. Implications for theory and practice and recommendations for schools and school personnel are discussed.


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Date of Submission