Date of Award

Winter 12-14-2017

Degree Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Department

Educational Policy Studies

First Advisor

Janice B. Fournillier

Second Advisor

Jennifer Esposito

Third Advisor

Joyce E. King

Fourth Advisor

Layli Maparyan

Abstract

Black girls are over-represented among suspended, expelled, or arrested youth (Blake 2011; Perry & Morris, 2017) and are punished more harshly for the same misbehaviors other girls and non-Black boys commit. Still, their experiences are under-explored in the literature. Recognizing that school to confinement processes are multiple and complex (Morris, 2016; American Bar Association, 2016), this study focused on school re-entry after exclusionary discipline to understand the on-going role schools play in Black girls’ disciplinary experience. Rather than addressing why and how Black girls enter the school/prison nexus, this study worked to understand the effects of a (bad) girl reputation in the long-term. Using narrative inquiry through a womanist worldview, the school re-entry experiences of five Black girls were collected and compared to the perspectives of five school leaders. Thematic analysis showed the stigmatizing effects of a (bad) reputation, their sense of personal resignation in a (bad) girl performance, and certain “null” experiences that had no effect on their educational well-being. These results are in contradistinction to the perceptions of the administrators who described their interventions as caring. They also shared their reluctance to use and considerable power to resist exclusionary discipline. The tension between perceptions suggests that further work in research, policy, and practice will ensure the creation of safe and engaged learning communities for Black girls who show behavioral difference. This study adds to the literature documenting the harmful effects of exclusionary discipline and thus, calls for the need to abolish the practice.

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