Paper Type

Doctoral Dissertation


College of Education and Human Services

Degree Name

Doctor of Education in Educational Leadership (EdD)


Leadership, School Counseling & Sport Management

NACO controlled Corporate Body

University of North Florida. Department of Leadership, School Counseling & Sports Management

First Advisor

Dr. Kim Cheek

Second Advisor

Dr. Daniel Dinsmore

Third Advisor

Dr. Dilek Kayaalp

Fourth Advisor

Dr. Curtis Phills

Department Chair

Dr. Amanda Pascale

College Dean

Dr. Jennifer Kane


Data on school discipline inequities have shown disproportionate numbers of Black students suspended and expelled compared to their non-Black counterparts. Despite the implementation of evidence-based solutions such as positive behavior supports and intervention, educator professional development, and restorative practices aimed at closing the racial discipline gap, little to no change has occurred. Critical Race Theory is used as a lens for viewing racial hierarchies as a socially constructed tool to oppress people of color. This oppression can be seen in various aspects of society and in education, especially in school discipline. It is fueled by biases, both implicit and explicit. This study aims to bring light to the impact of educator bias on the lack of positive change upon implementation of evidence-based strategies aimed to minimize school discipline inequities.

The data for this quantitative study was collected through surveys designed to measure explicit and implicit bias of K-12 public school educators in a large urban school district in the Southeastern U.S. Regression analysis was used to determine if there is a relationship between high levels of educator bias and high levels of racial discipline disproportionalities. The discrepancies between total enrollment of Black students and discipline (i.e., multiple out-of-school suspension rates) of Black students was not found to correlate to individual factors such as educator race, gender, and total years employed at their current school. Post hoc analysis showed that the discrepancy could not be predicted by school-level factors such as surrounding neighborhood income levels. Findings could be limited by lower-than-expected participation rates but can be built upon with future research aimed at gathering data from a greater number of educators per school.