Publication Date


Document Type

Masters Thesis


School for Social Work


Children with disabilities-Education-Massachusetts, Minorities-Education-Massachusetts, African American students-Massachusetts, Hispanic American students-Massachusetts, Discipline of children-Massachusetts, Student suspension-Massachusetts, Student expulsion-Massachusetts, School social work, Students of color, Special needs, Exclusionary disciplines, Cradle to Prison Pipeline


Grounded in zero tolerance policies in public school systems, this secondary-analysis of Massachusetts's statewide data is used to ascertain information about the rates of exclusionary disciplines for students of color with special needs for the 2010-2011 academic school year. Literature has shown that students of color, and students with special needs are at higher risk for being given more frequent exclusionary disciplines than white students, and students without special needs; however, studies of students of color with special needs have not yet been conducted. The data used in this analysis was collected by the U.S. Department of Education and made publically accessible. Per Massachusetts's disciplinary reporting policies, each behavioral incident (N=60,610), that results in an exclusionary discipline of 10 days or more is provided with the student's demographical information. Some of the major findings of this analysis include the following: (1) students of color miss fewer days of school for exclusionary disciplines than their white counterparts; however, when looking at nonviolent behaviors, students of color receive more out-of-school suspensions while white students receive more in-school suspensions; (2) students of color with special needs miss more days of school than their white counterparts; (3) students of color receive more out of school suspensions than white students, and white students receive more in school suspensions than students of color. Implications for clinical practice, policy reform, and future studies are discussed.




v, 52 p. : col. ill. Thesis (M.S.W.)--Smith College School for Social Work, 2013. Includes bibliographical references (p. 47-52)