Winter 2023

ESRP 9000 Professor

Linda Gaughan

ESRP 9001 Professor

Linda Gaughan

Executive Summary

Disproportionate discipline is an issue that has negatively impacted many commonly marginalized groups of students throughout the United States. This strategic research project was designed to provide strategies for applying discipline equitably, address disproportionate and exclusionary disciplinary actions, and create positive outcomes to sustain a safe and positive learning environment for students at an elementary school in Georgia. This study showed that negative behaviors, referrals, and suspensions increased as the percentage of Black student enrollment increased at the school. An analysis of the school’s strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats (SWOT) was conducted to further identify and evaluate factors that impact the organization in the study. Using the results, internal and external factors were identified and organized to allow for better decision-making and management of the schoolwide problem.

Solutions were identified through a synthesis of literature based on the SWOT analysis. This study explores various solutions to address disproportionate disciplinary actions in an elementary school setting. In order to combat this issue, schools should implement the culturally responsive positive behavior interventions and supports (CRPBIS) strategy and individually evaluate their organization by forming Learning Labs. An action plan was developed to list and organize necessary actions and goals needed to achieve the overall goal. It is recommended that schools implement culturally responsive practices and compare results with other schools that have similar demographics and organizational threats and weaknesses. It is also recommended that schools find additional ways to promote equity with discipline to include within an action plan to eliminate disproportionate discipline.

Document Type

Strategic Research Project-NSU Access Only

Degree Name

Doctor of Education (EdD)


Abraham S. Fischler College of Education