Special Education M.A.

Year Approved


First Advisor

Mignard, Michael


School systems have the main responsibility of educating students, and to help achieve this goal, schools need standards of behavior that promote safety, order, and discipline methods to address unacceptable behavior. This paper set out to explore the current discipline methods that schools use, and the effects (positive or negative) of each method. Relevant literature articles were reviewed and analyzed. Exclusionary discipline (out of school suspension and expulsion) is a commonly used discipline method in schools, but research has shown that it is not effective and can be harmful when overused for minor infractions. Furthermore, out of school suspension rates are higher among students of color, low-income students, and students with disabilities resulting in a school discipline gap. The most common alternative interventions to suspension include: in school suspension, positive behavior interventions and supports, restorative practice, social emotional learning, professional development, and the principal’s role. These interventions have varying effects on improving behavior and reducing exclusionary discipline. Professional application, limitations of the current research, and recommendations for future research are discussed as well.

Degree Name

Special Education M.A.

Document Type

Masterʼs thesis