Term of Award

Fall 2019

Degree Name

Master of Science, Criminal Justice and Criminology

Document Type and Release Option

Thesis (open access)

Copyright Statement / License for Reuse

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.


Department of Criminal Justice and Criminology

Committee Chair

Chad Posick

Committee Member 1

Jonathan Grubb

Committee Member 2

Amanda Graham


The occurrence of violent and disruptive behavior in schools has been present throughout most of American educational history. The disciplinary policies established to address these behaviors have changed over time, becoming only more severe. The deterrent effect these policies were intended to produce has seen to be minimal, and despite a reduction in violent school victimization since the mid-1990s, schools continue to rely on these harsh policies (Skiba, 2014). This study examines the relationship between incident counts and discipline action counts for Georgia public schools (N = 2,150) for the 2017-2018 academic school year. This research utilizes negative binomial regression models to explore whether the use of different school disciplinary policies will affect the occurrence of violent, delinquent, and disorderly incidents at school. Findings reveal that the use of different school disciplinary policies can both increase and decrease the likelihood of violence, delinquency, and disorder occurring in schools. The results of this study suggest that when controlling for school characteristics, the use of exclusionary disciplinary policies do not deter violence or disruption as intended. This study should prompt Georgia school administrators and policymakers to explore alternatives to harsh disciplinary policies moving forward. Additionally, limitations and implications for these findings are discussed, and directions for future research are provided.

Research Data and Supplementary Material