Campus Location

Dallas Campus (Online)

Date of Award



Document Type



Organizational Leadership

Degree Name

Doctor of Education

Committee Chair or Primary Advisor

Amy Barrios

Second Committee Member or Secondary Advisor

Sonerka Mouton

Third Committee Member or Committee Reader

Linda Wilson- Jones


This study examined why teachers write office discipline referrals on Black students, addressing a gap in the literature about the writing of office discipline referrals by teachers for disciplinary reasons. Few studies have office discipline referrals as a factor in the discipline gap between Black and White students. The researcher utilized a qualitative case study method to interview participants. Semi structured interviews were conducted and analyzed manually by the researcher. Fifteen classroom teachers participated: five from elementary, five from middle school, and five from high school. The study used the social-ecological theory framework to analyze the phenomenon of writing office discipline referrals and its effects on Black students in school. The impact of office discipline referrals has been documented to include the school–to–prison pipeline, Black student perception of teachers, perceptions of teachers, systemic supports, gender, and Black students with disabilities. Key findings in the study revealed that significant themes emerged: Racial Disparities, Behavior Disruptions, Cultural Awareness, Bias, Expectations, Relationships, and Student Well-Being. This research contributed to a more in-depth understanding of the factors that have led to office discipline referrals and their impact on Black students in school. Keywords: office discipline referrals, social-ecological theory, racial disparities, disproportionality, racial discipline gap, exclusionary discipline

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License.



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