Dallas Campus (Online)
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Doctor of Education
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Second Committee Member or Secondary Advisor
Third Committee Member or Committee Reader
Current research about the school to prison pipeline has focused on the impact of zero-tolerance policies in public education on historically marginalized student populations, especially school exclusionary practices of minority and learning-disabled students. This transcendental phenomenological study extended the understanding of disciplinary alternative education programs’ place in the school to prison pipeline trajectory. According to critical race and social justice leadership theories, the investigation and exposure of the public education components leading students into the school to prison pipeline are violations of student civil rights that require scrutiny and actionable public education reform focused on equity and inclusion.The purpose of this qualitative study was to examine the experiences and perspectives of five teachers and six leaders in Colorado who have served students placed in disciplinary alternative education programs to provide suggestions for improvements that will address the school to prison pipeline. Study findings reaffirmed previous research about subjective discipline referrals as the catalyst to the school to prison pipeline yet indicated that disciplinary alternative education programs currently act as expulsion education opportunities in response to the school to prison pipeline data. Consequently, public education district leadership needs to create and implement progress monitoring for bias and discrimination in their discipline matrices and referral processes, as well as provide effective staff training around multitiered support systems for the intervention of high-risk students’ needs and behaviors, culturally responsive instructional practice, and restorative justice in exchange for punitive discipline.
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Smith, April Michele, "Leadership in Disciplinary Alternative Education Programs and the School to Prison Pipeline" (2021). Digital Commons @ ACU, Electronic Theses and Dissertations. Paper 323.