Date of Award

Fall 11-23-2021

Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education (EdD)


Educational Leadership

First Advisor

Horace R. Hall

Second Advisor

Troy Harden

Third Advisor

Kennedi Strickland-Dixon


African-American students have experienced the injustices of institutional racism, which has been reflected in the exclusionary discipline practices implemented within the educational system. These practices, including the excessive use of suspensions and expulsions, have victimized African American youth at higher levels than their White peers. This overrepresentation of discipline in the educational system has mirrored the U.S. penal system's practices, creating the phenomenon known as the school-to-prison pipeline. To eradicate these practices, Illinois legislator Kimberly Lightford, in collaboration with VOYCE (Voices of Youth in Chicago Education), created Senate Bill 100, which is now Public Act 99-0456. This policy is designed to combat the overrepresentation of disciplinary practices with alternative interventions, eliminating the idea that suspensions and expulsions are the first line of defense for tackling disruptive behaviors. P.A 99-0456 also focuses on promoting a positive culture and climate in hopes that a safe and supported school environment will be reflective in the disciplinary practices within the educational system. Although the literature focuses on the disparities of the disciplinary practices and the overrepresentation of these results, absent from the research are stories that reflect the outcomes since the implementation of P.A. 99-0456. The purpose of this research study is to explore the experiences of African American students, teachers, and administrators of an urban middle school that has implemented P.A. 99-0456 policy to discipline and what additional supports are needed to ensure that it eliminates the school-to-prison pipeline phenomenon for the community in this study.