The Effects of Punitive Discipline and Restorative Justice on Black Male Student-Athletes

Andrew Lawrence Schmeltzer, Tennessee State University


Punitive discipline has been utilized in American schools for many years, but restorative justice practices are becoming more common. The researcher examined the literature surrounding punitive discipline and restorative justice practices. The design and purpose of this study was intended to help schools avoid the problems that punitive discipline brings: poor attendance, poor academics due to missing time in the classroom, student distrust of teachers and administrators, discipline gaps, high school dropouts, and the pipeline-to-prison system that has been established inadvertently in high schools throughout the United States. This current study focused on suspensions, both in-school suspension (ISS) and out-of-school suspension (OSS), but not expulsions. Higher tiers of zero-tolerance discipline actions (such as assault, weapons, drugs, or sexual deviance) require expulsion in many schools and are not typically corrected with restorative practices now. A qualitative study was conducted in Tennessee and Texas public high schools to compare the effects of punitive discipline and restorative justice practices on Black male student-athletes. The participants’ rich narratives allows readers to explore the human experience in its full context. This study provides school administrators with additional and current information into the types of discipline methods they may choose to adopt at their schools. This study will be beneficial to high school administrators, teachers, and, ultimately, parents. It highlights the importance of putting the lives of students first by being relational and focusing on the transformation process of administrator’s attitudes, students’ behaviors, and beliefs through the implementation of restorative justice practices.

Subject Area

Education|Educational leadership|Educational administration

Recommended Citation

Andrew Lawrence Schmeltzer, "The Effects of Punitive Discipline and Restorative Justice on Black Male Student-Athletes" (2023). ETD Collection for Tennessee State University. Paper AAI30250151.