A critical policy analysis: the impact of zero tolerance on out-of-school suspensions and expulsions of students of color in the state of Texas by gender and school level
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This study focused on the disciplining actions given to students of color after the implementation of the zero tolerance (ZT) policy in Texas’ schools. Out-of-school suspension and expulsion data were analyzed to depict trends and/or patterns across school levels as well as gender and race/ethnicity. More specifically, the disciplinary action of 34,047 elementary, middle and high school students of color suspended out-of-school and expelled in Texas’ public schools during the1999-2000 and 2002-2003 academic school years were statistically analyzed then evaluated via specific tenets of critical race theory (CRT). A critical policy analysis, as defined by the researcher, was discussed using the results of the data analysis. In addition, the predictive power of the variables school level, gender and race/ethnicity on the disciplinary action given to students of color were analyzed during the school terms under study. The most statistically significant finding of the study was the influence of ethnicity on out-of-school suspension and expulsion rates of students of color in the State of Texas after the implementation of the policy known as ZT during the selected school terms. Furthermore, of the students enrolled in public schools in Texas during the 1999-2000 and 2002-2003 school years, African-American students comprised 14.3 and 14.4 percent of the population; yet, they received more than one-third of all disciplining actions, second to European Americans who comprised 43 and 40 percent of the enrolled population. When compared to other students of color, African-American students received 53.6 and 53.9 percent of the out-of-school suspensions and 64.3 and 65.1 of the expulsions. Even though the data presented were aligned with previous research studies, the view of disciplinary actions for students of color from a critical race theory (CRT) lens highlights the deficiencies outlined via a critical policy analysis of the ZT policy as it is used to fortify the safety of schools.
Sullivan, Earnestyne LaShonne (2007). A critical policy analysis: the impact of zero tolerance on out-of-school suspensions and expulsions of students of color in the state of Texas by gender and school level. Doctoral dissertation, Texas A&M University. Available electronically from