African-American Juvenile Males and Their Perceptions of the School to Prison Pipeline

Tenisha N Odom, Tennessee State University


This qualitative study was conducted in order to determine the role, if any, of the School to Prison Pipeline in schools within the Nashville Metropolitan area. This study was conducted in the Davidson County Juvenile Detention Center and included five interviewees. In addition to the five interviewees, a different group of nine younger individuals participated in a Social Barometer Activity. Each group of participants led the researcher to evaluate the results differently given the difference in ages within the two groups. Each of these participants had, at some point during their K-12 careers, been recipients of disciplinary action; disciplinary action in the form of either suspension or expulsion. The researcher examined the perceptions of these individuals with regard to the role that the School to Prison Pipeline played in their specific school. Moreover, the researcher deeply examined the participants’ perceptions of the role that race plays within the pipeline, as well as the participants’ overall perceptions of the pipeline itself. The researcher inquired about school safety agents and other school personnel in order to analyze the data. Disciplinary data from each of the schools attended by the participants was examined and included. Through the use of one-on-one interviews, classroom observation, and a Social Barometer Activity the researcher discovered multiple themes that gave insight into the reasons these individuals found themselves in juvenile custody. The themes that emerged through the analysis of the interviews included: Better Funding for Schools, Police in Schools, Race and Discipline, Societal Factors, Cultural Differences, and Stereotypes. Through the analysis of these themes, the researcher recommends that school personnel undergo more culturally responsive training in order to decrease the number of assumptions that are made regarding African-American male students.

Subject Area

African American Studies|Social research|School administration

Recommended Citation

Tenisha N Odom, "African-American Juvenile Males and Their Perceptions of the School to Prison Pipeline" (2015). ETD Collection for Tennessee State University. Paper AAI10003145.